Chennai City FC on Thursday defeated Churchill Brothers 3-1 to register their first win of the ongoing 38th Hero Federation Cup to end their campaign on a victorious note, in Cuttack.
The win, however, came too late for Chennai City FC as they crashed out of the tournament along with Churchill Brothers as Aizawl FC and Kingfisher East Bengal qualified for the semi-finals from Group A.
Strikes by Dhanpal Ganesh (18th minute), Edwin Sydney (61st) and Brazilian Charles de Souza (79th) led Chennai City FC to three points, leapfrogging Churchill Brothers to finish the Hero Federation Cup in third place in Group A with three points, after Brandon Fernandes scored from the spot in the 81st minute.
Meanwhile, Churchill Brothers find themselves at the bottom of Group A with one point and no wins from three matches.
Both teams played the first half of the game with caution and while Churchill Brothers dominated possession, it was Chennai City FC that found the back of the net to lead 1-0 at half-time.
In the 18th minute, Ganesh bombarded into the penalty box after stealing possession and his shot from a tight angle flew past Churchill goalkeeper Naveen Kumar into the back of the net to hand Chennai the lead.
Brandon Fernandes in the 31st minute rattled the woodwork from a free-kick 25 yards out for Churchill Brothers.
There was minimal action in the second half as both teams were stuck on the midfield.
Bright moments came for Chennai City FC in the form of Ganesh who took on more of an attacking role, linking play between the midfield and the strikers.
In the 59th minute, Fernandes took it upon himself to score the equaliser but his shot could only crash against the side-netting after he wriggled into the box from the left flank.
Two minutes later Chennai City FC doubled their lead after Sydney’s shot from inside the box crept into the back of the net leaving Naveen wrong-footed.
Charles de Souza tripled Chennai City’s lead in the 79th minute after his powerful shot crashed into the net leaving the Churchill custodian stunned.
Churchill Brothers were awarded a penalty in the 81st minute and Fernandes stepped up to finish the spot kick with ease and reduce Churchill’s deficit.
However, it was too late for a comeback and the full-time scoreline read 3-1 in favour of Chennai City FC.