Chennaiyin FC U-15s end Chennai zone campaign on a high

Chennai: The Chennaiyin FC Under-15 team concluded their 2018-19 Hero Junior League Chennai zone campaign with a 7-0 win over the Chennai City FC U-15s at the FC Madras Arena in Thoraipakkam here today. Striker Mohammed Liyaakath starred with a hat-trick while the versatile Rahul K. Manjula netted a brace. Forwards Harsha Vardhan R.S. and Kishore R.A. also contributed with their first goals of the campaign.

The CFC U-15s thus finish in 2nd place in the Chennai zone with 17 points from their eight games, one below FC Madras who finished top with 18 points. As a result, FC Madras receive direct qualification to the final round while CFC will have to fight it out in a play-off round in order to progress to the final round. This was CFC’s fifth clean sheet in eight games, having lost only once in the Chennai zone this campaign. Chennaiyin also had an impressive ten different scorers enroute the play-off round.

The play-off round followed by the final round will be held in Kolkata in a week’s time. CFC’s opponents in the play-off round Group B will be the Rest of India Zone Group A winners (13th May), Thane – Football School of India (third best group winners across the three Mumbai zones) (15th May) and Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG) Football Academy (Rest of India Zone Group B winners) (17th May).

If Chennaiyin top the play-off round Group B, they progress to Group A of the final round, where they will face Bengaluru’s Stadium Sports Foundation team (20th May), Minerva Punjab FC (22nd May) and Imphal’s Birachandra Memorial Sporting Club (24th May).

Chennaiyin made two changes to the side that clinched play-off qualification with a 4-1 win over the Raman Vijayan Soccer School U-15s in their previous game. And both were in attack as Yugan S. and K. Suriya made way for Harsha Vardhan R.S. and Mohammed Liyaakath.

The CFC U-15s got off to a flier, making it 1-0 within the opening ten minutes. It was that man Liyaakath, who got on the end of a fortuitous rebound in the CCFC box, to open the scoring for the visitors.

It was all one-way traffic thereon, with CFC make it 2-0 a few minutes later. CFC No. 9 Kishore R.A. received the ball from Caron Kennedy near the center circle, before making an incisive dribble into the CCFC box and scoring a solo goal, his first of the campaign.

Caron Kennedy was the provider yet again, just past the half-hour mark, when he laid the ball off to Harsha Vardhan. The attacker dribbled past three opponents and finished with aplomb to triple CFC’s lead.

There was a further flourish just before half-time, as Liyaakath completed his hat-trick with a quickfire double. The Chennai-born striker found the back of the net after being assisted by skipper Deepak Thapamogar and Caron Kennedy respectively, the latter also racking up a hat-trick of assists. Liyaakath thus concluded his Chennai zone campaign with six goals, top-scoring for CFC.

After the break, it was more of the same from the Chennaiyin boys, who relentlessly came at CCFC. Rahul K. Manjula made it 6-0 in the 54th minute from defender Taufiq Ahamed’s cut-back.

Liyaakath and his fellow attackers continued to create several opportunities thereafter but were wasteful in front of goal. CFC’s final goal in the Chennai zone this season eventually came through Rahul again, the versatile defender finishing off a team move to notch his third goal of an impressive campaign, having been promoted from the CFC U-13s.

Score: Chennai City U-15s 0 lost to Chennaiyin FC U-15s 7 (Mohamed Liyaakath 9’, 45’, 45+2’; Kishore R.A. 12’; Harsha Vardhan R.S. 31’; Rahul K. Manjula 54’, 90+1’)