AFC Cup 2019: Chennaiyin knocked out despite win, Minerva lose to Abahani at home
by Shubham Sharma
Chennaiyin FC defeated Nepali club Manang Marshyangdi by 3-2 in away fixture but Minerva Punjab lost to Abahani Dhaka at home by 1-0. As a result of Minerva's loss, Chennaiyin couldn't make it out of the group stage of the competition.
Chennaiyin FC were dependent on Minerva Punjab's result to make it out of the group stage today. A draw or a win for Minerva Punjab over Abahani Dhaka coupled with a win for Chennaiyin over Manang Marshyangdi would have taken the latter through to the next round.
Minerva Punjab were on the back football right from the word go. The visitors held the lion's share of possession and also attacked in numbers, pushing the hosts back in their half. Sachin Badadhe's side almost had conceded in the first half when Mamunul Islam's strike beat the Minerva custodian but Robert Primus's goalline clearance saved the hosts.
But the hosts ended up conceding late in the game in the final added minutes of the game through a corner as Belfort headed a ball into Masih Saighani's way who headed the ball home as the visitors earned the win in the most thrilling fashion at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.
Meanwhile Chennaiyin too earned a thrilling win at the ANFA Complex in Kathmandu with a last-gasp strike. The visitors started the match with dominating gameplay and asked some serious questions to the hosts' defence, but Marshyangdi kept the scoreline intact at the halfway mark.
In the second half however, Mohammed Rafi and Eli Sabia made it 2-0 in favour of the visitors. But the hosts came back strongly in the next dozen minutes to level the scoreline. But Rafi turned out to be the hero for the Machans as he scored an 88th minute winner to end the campaign with a win.