Chennai City vs Minerva Punjab, East Bengal vs Gokulam Kerala, Highlights: Chennai City went behind in the first half to Minerva Punjab with the game between East Bengal and Gokulam Kerala still goalless. At half time, it looked like East Bengal were a whisker away from securing a first-ever title in the last 15 years.
But then Chennai equalised in the second half and that coincided with East Bengal conceding a goal to Gokulam. Chennai went on to score a second and after that point, although East Bengal came from behind to secure a 2-1 win themselves, Chennai were in the driver’s seat. They beat Minerva 3-1 and have thus won the league for the first time ever.
Chennai City vs Minerva Punjab, East Bengal vs Gokulam Kerala, Highlights:
So that's the end of another thriller of a season...
...and if speculation is to be believed, this was the last time we saw the I-League as the top flight of the Indian football. In fact, Star Sports have made the statement already with their broadcast; the post-match celebrations were hardly shown and the trophy-lifting, a staple at the end of any tournament in any sport, was not even shown on Hotstar. This is a league that has provided the kind of drama most big European leagues can only wish for, and instead of it being given a boost, it is being dumped. Go figure. Anyhow we leave you with some scenes from the stadium and stay tuned for more stuff. Bye from this blog and congratulations Chennai City FC!
Chennai City are the champions of India! The final minutes blew a couple of minutes earlier in Kozhikode and news slowly seeped into Coimbatore about it. The players and the coaching staff runs to the field as soon as the referee blows the final whistle. But not coach Akbar Nawas, he is still at the touchline, crouching and staring at the jubilant scenes unfolding in front of him. He is responsible for it. He converted Chennai from a team that looked out of their depth in this league for two seasons, to one that have bossed it for much of it. Chennai City, the first national champions from Tamil Nadu.
GOAL! Chennai 3-1 Minerva
That is it! League is going to Coimbatore. Chennai corner swung in and Bora heads it in.
90 +1 mins Chennai 2-1 Minerva
Chennai are doing everything they can to run the clock down. A Minerva shot misses the target, the keeper tries to make a save and then rolls around clutching his ankle for some reason.
87 mins Chennai 2-1 Minerva
Quick feet by Vijay to get past two defenders on the left but his cross does not quite cut it. 6 minutes added time in Kozhikode, 5 mins of added time in Coimbatore.
89 mins Gokulam 1-2 East Bengal
Joseph chases the ball into the box, Rakshit Dagar comes out and smothers the ball in his hand. In the process, his head comes in the way of Joseph's swinging foot and he rolls around clutching his temple. A scuffle breaks out between the two sets of players at the by line at the end of which Joseph gets yellow. Dagar gets his head bandaged.
GOAL! Danmawia puts East Bengal in the lead
Santos pings the ball into the box, Mawia gets there but his header kept out by a point-blank save from the keeper but it only comes back to him and he turns it in. East Bengal have done whatever they can here, but unless Chennai City lose their match, they will still finish second.
Into the last 10 minutes in both grounds
Chennai are running down the clock and, unfortunately for East Bengal, Minerva are not really not making much of an effort.
GOAL! Gokulam 1-1 East Bengal
As cool as ever, he almost passes it into the bottom right. They draw level but Chennai are absolutely bossing Minerva in Coimbatore.
77 mins, Gokulam 1-0 East Bengal
PENALTY FOR EB! Cross from the right and there is an almighty scuffle in the box between four players. The goalkeeper punches it over the ball but the referee says there is a penalty there. Jaime Santos takes....
GOAL! And now Chennai City are ahead in Coimbatore
Corner cleared but it comes to Gaurav Bora who thunders a volley in, the ball finds the back of the net and that should be that. The league title should be going to Coimbatore now, unless we see a miracle. But hey, miracles are the norm in the I-League isn't it?
GOAL! East Bengal are behind in Kozhkode!
Joseph hammers in a low shot after some lovely football from Jayaraj and the ball finds the back of the net. Is that the end of the race?
67 mins Gokulam Kerala 0-0 East Bengal
Didika with a dinked pass ahead into the box, Enrique Esqueda gets there but the Gokulam keeper gets there in time.
60 mins, Chennai City 1-1 Minerva Punjab,
How in the world are Chennai not ahead. Ajith with a cross from the right that catches out the Minerva keeper, Manzi is there to head into the unguarded net but he bungles the header.
61 mins, Gokulam Kerala 0-0 East Bengal
Chance for East Bengal! Didika with a hopeful shot from outside the box, around 20 yards away in fact, the ball hits the bar and goes off. How about that.
GOAL! Chennai City 1-1 Minerva Punjab
A sloppy, clumsy handball by Akashdeep Singh and Chennai get a penalty. Pedro Manzi steps up, tells the goalkeeper that he is going left and he does go left, the keeper goes the other way and as things stand, the title is going Chennai's way
52 mins Chennai City 0-1 Minerva Punjab, Gokulam Kerala 0-0 East Bengal
Around the same time in Coimbatore, a good ball from Chote but Quero is unable to take control and the ball rolls into the keeper's hands.
52 mins, Chennai City 0-1 Minerva Punjab, Gokulam Kerala 0-0 East Bengal
In Kozhikode, East Bengal win a free kick just outside the box on the right. Didika Ralte takes it and it looks like he went for the far corner, the ball soars over the bar.
KICK OFF second half
Play in Kozhikode started three minutes earlier than in Coimbatore. Nothing much to report in the early two minutes of both matches.
HALF TIME! Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
As things stand, Chennai City are winning the league on goal difference.
Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
One minute of added time in Kozhikode, three minutes in Coimbatore. A lull in the match between Chennai and Minerva with an injury caused by a 50-50 at the edge the home side's box.
40 mins Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
Meanwhile there was a big big chance for Gokulam to go ahead. Imran Khan with a fantastic long ball that Joseph gets at the end of it. He tries to go around the goalkeeper but the touch is a rather bad one, the keeper slaps it away.
Manzi and Sandro with a one-two and the former manages to make his way from the right to a more central position and puts the ball in. It is a good cross, landed in a dangerous territory but no one is at the end of it.
37 mins Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
Arashpreet with a push on Manzi to knock him off the ball and Chennai get a free kick. Manzi pushes Arashpreet for good measure and gets a yellow card for his efforts.
33 mins Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
In Coimbatore, a cross into the box and Manzi challenges for it, the ball is over his head and the Minerva goalkeeper collects. In doing so, Nidhin seems to have taken a knock and needed some attention.
32 mins Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
Romario with a shot once again, this time he forces a save from the keeper. The corner is taken by Sandro and it comes to nothing. Chennai have to make use of these chances.
27 mins Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
Romario comes in from the left and takes a shot from outside the box, doesn't quite cut it. Chennai City have not been able to get any control on the match so far.
22 mins, Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
Chennai meanwhile still trying to make headway in Coimbatore. Manzi provided a scare when he got the ball on his feet in the box but he is immediatly swamped by Minerva defenders.
20 mins Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
Marcus Joseph with a screamer of a shot from about 30 yards out and the East Bengal goalkeeper had to dive low to his left to make the save. Just minutes later, Joseph chases a long ball into the box, he is pushed to the right when he gets to the box but he takes the shot. It is on target and the keeper keeps it out for a corner which comes to nothing. Gokulam starting to dominate proceedings now.
15 mins, Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
Chennai slowly getting more possession and making headway into the Minerva area but no results yet from these forays for them.
10 mins, `Chennai 0-1 Minerva, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
A lull in the proceedings. Chennai have not been able to get into their rhythm yet. Minerva still dominating possession and chances have come at a premium for the league leaders. But even as it stands, East Bengal are not winning the league. They are level on points with Chennai but the latter are top on goal difference.
7 mins, Gokulam 0-0 East Bengal
East Bengal get a chance to score! Jaime Santos releases Danmawia down the right, he squres it for Brandon who passes it back for Santos. He takes the shot from about 20 yards out and the ball flies over the bar.
GOAL! Minerva take the lead! 2 mins
Chennai City are behind! Cross came in from the right, rather pedestrian marking and Roland Bilala heads it just over the keeper's head. Minerva lead 1-0
Both referees waited to synchronize the kick off and the one over in Kerala seemed to get a little annoyed by the slight delay caused. But we are off and running at last.
The players walk out
They have their game faces on and both sides have walked out to the pitch. The crowds are building. We will be bringing you live updates from both matches so stay right here. The I-League has been tweeting visuals from the grounds.
These are the starting XIs
Hello and welcome!
Chennai City need to win their match, East Bengal need to win theirs and hope for a favourable result about 180 km to the west of where they are playing. Chennai could have sealed the title last week had it not been for Churchill Brothers gate crashing their party and condemning them to their third defeat of the season. East Bengal are missing Jobby Justin, Chennai are missing Nestor Gordillo. Chennai are looking to win the national title for the first time. East Bengal have won the erstwhile National Football League three times but their best finish in the I-League has been that of runners up. It means we could have yet another first-time champion today. Welcome to the I-League folks. Let's get right down to it.