Goa/Kolkata, May 17, 2019 – The Chennaiyin FC U-15 team finished their 2018-19 Hero Junior League play-off round campaign with a 3-1 win over Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG) Football Academy at the Naihati Stadium in Kolkata. A brace from striker K. Suriya and a goal from Rahul Manjula proved the difference for CFC, both boys having been promoted from the U-13s this season.
After losing their opening Chennai zone game, the CFC U-15s are unbeaten in ten outings since. With the win over SAG, the CFC U-15s finish in second place with five points and still have an outside chance of qualifying to the final round as the best second-placed team from the three play-off groups, subject to other results on Saturday.
And the CFC U-13s concluded their 2018-19 Hero Sub-Junior League final round with a thrilling 3-3 draw against Southern Samity in Goa. The CFC U-13s’ bow out in third place after a loss and two draws.
Come-from-behind victory for CFC U-15s
The CFC U-15s came into their final group game against SAG after a fighting 0-0 draw against Aizawl FC followed by a harsh 2-2 result against Thane – Football School of India.
They fell behind in the opening fifteen minutes, when Firoz Ansari opened the scoring for SAG after the Chennaiyin defence was caught out of position.
But CFC continued to see more of the ball and created the better chances. And they found the leveller before half-time, through striker K. Suriya. Having come into the starting eleven in place of Yugan S., Suriya did well to convert skipper Deepak Thapamogar’s through ball into the box.
After half-time, it was more of the same from CFC. Rahul Manjula won the ball back in the SAG half, carrying the ball forward and netting.
SAG had no way back, with CFC closing the game out in the last ten minutes through Suriya’s second of the game and fifth of the campaign so far, including the Chennai zone. The Chennai-born Suriya combining again with Deepak to devastating effect.
CFC U-13s denied win by late leveller
The Chennaiyin FC U-13s played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Kolkata’s Southern Samity in their last 2018-19 Hero Sub-Junior League final round match.
Chennaiyin got off to the perfect start as their top-scorer K. Karmugilan opened the scoring from a corner in the 10th minute. The Pondicherry forward’s pinpoint header taking his tally to eight goals in his debut Sub-Junior League campaign.
CFC though ceded matters as the half progressed, as Southern Samity equalized past the half-hour mark through their nifty striker Monirul Molla.
After the break, it became an even encounter with both sides providing a threat in front of goal. Karmugilan and S. Varun Kumar continued to be a thorn in the opposition, the latter making it 2-1 to CFC with a shot from outside the box, which crept in after the keeper failed to get behind it.
With a minute of normal time to go, Molla managed to score again to make it 2-2 after capitalizing on a defensive error by CFC. However, second-half substitute E. Kannan scored a wonderful solo goal in the second minute of stoppage time, the final shot a tad fortuitous after the ball had ricocheted back in his path after a save from the keeper.
But in the last minute of stoppage time, Southern Samity managed to draw level yet again and break Chennaiyin hearts. It was Molla yet again, completing his hat-trick with a fine individual effort. CFC thus concluded their second consecutive final round campaign with a group stage exit; finishing in third place with two points after a loss and two draws.
2018-19 Hero Sub-Junior League Final Round Group A:
Southern Samity 3 (Monirul Molla 33’, 69’, 70+4’) drew with Chennaiyin FC U-13s 3 (K. Karmugilan 10’, S. Varun Kumar 60’, E. Kannan 70+2’)
2018-19 Hero Junior League Play-Off Round Group B:
Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG) Football Academy 1 (Firoz Ansari 14’) lost to Chennaiyin FC U-15s 3 (K. Suriya 42’, 80’; Rahul Manjula 49’)