Having already qualified for the final round of the Hero U-18 Youth League, a much changed Chennaiyin FC Under-18 team drew 1-1 with FC Madras in their final Chennai zone game at the SSN College Ground here today. A late goal from Joysana Singh salvaged a point for CFC, who went behind in the first minute. The Chennaiyin FC U-18s thus finish top of the Chennai zone with 20 points from eight games. The CFC U-18s are also unbeaten in 14 games against opposition from Chennai.
CFC made a total of ten changes to the starting eleven with striker Prasanna Kumar the only one retained from the 7-0 thumping of RVSS in the previous outing. With the exception of Yunus Shaikh, Ajith Arasu and Sanjay S, the other eight boys who started, hail from Tamil Nadu.
CFC got off to the worst possible start, conceding in the first minute to a long-range goal from FC Madras’ Vineeth A. Spurred on by the goal, the visitors dominated proceedings in the opening stages.
Chennaiyin’s first chance came on the break when the ball fell to Perinbaezhilan, who unselfishly squared it to Prasanna. However a backtracking defender cleared the ball before the latter could connect.
It was a disjointed performance from Chennaiyin in the first period as FC Madras saw more of the ball. Apart from a few half-chances falling the way of both sides, there was nothing much of note to report at the interval.
CFC rang in the changes at half-time, bringing on Joysana Singh, Ajin Tom and Pradap Balashanmugam in place of Perinbaezhilan, Sanjay and Joy Kumar.
Prasanna had a golden chance to equalize soon after, having rounded the keeper after a lobbed pass from Ajin. But a FC Madras defender tightened the angle just in time as Prasanna fired wide.
Prasanna was at it yet again a few minutes later, this time getting on the end of Joysana’s ball to go one-on-one with the keeper. His low shot was saved well by the latter from close range as CFC frantically searched for a leveller.
CFC kept picking away at the FC Madras lock and the equalizer eventually came in the 90th minute, courtesy none other than Joysana Singh. A four-goal hero from the previous game, the Manipur boy headed in from close range after a rebound fell his way following a CFC corner.
CFC almost scored the winner on the break in the dying seconds, but FC Madras held on for a well-deserved draw.
Chennaiyin FC U-18s 1 (Joysana Singh 90′) drew with FC Madras 1 (Vineeth A. 1′)