Mohun Bagan Super Giant secured a comfortable 3-1 victory over Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium to record their third consecutive win of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season.
First half strikes by Australian attacking duo of Dimitri Petratos and Jason Cummings ensured that the Mariners cruised through their inaugural away fixture of the campaign. But, it was Sahal Abdul Samad who was the star of the show tonight.
Juan Ferrando’s men got in the groove straightaway, wasting no time whatsoever. Defender Anwar Ali displayed sharpness moving forward, taking a shot in the ninth minute that missed the target by a whisker. The visitor’s offensive moves were free-flowing as they led the charge at the Chennaiyin box from all ends.
Attacking midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad was at the centre of all of Mohun Bagan’s goal-scoring moves tonight. He beat his marker with some fine footwork and played a quick cross to Petratos on the near post from the right flank. The striker didn’t think twice before perfectly placing the ball past the Chennaiyin goalkeeper Samik Mitra.
At the brink of half-time, Sahal decided to take matters in his hand and unleashed a shot that took a deflection and landed in Cummings’ path. The forward immediately pounced upon the chance to help his team get ahead by two goals.
Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle shook things up during the break. He unveiled his trump card in the form of Brazilian playmaker Rafael Crivellaro. The substitute instantly made a mark by converting a free-kick in the 55th minute. His creative instincts were well on display when he nearly set up a goal for Farukh Choudhary with a razor sharp through ball five minutes later.
But, the Mariners had restored their two-goal lead by then, with Sahal carving open the Chennaiyin backline with a dazzling run straight after Crivellaro’s free-kick. His penetrative sprint drew defenders towards him and created space for Manvir Singh on the right flank. Sahal was quick to release the ball to the attacker, who went for a strong shot and notched his team’s third goal of the night. Ferrando was quick to sense a window of opportunity after this goal, strengthening his defensive unit and putting a stop to any further passage of goals from their end.
Key Performer of the Match
Sahal Abdul Samad
The former Kerala Blasters FC star was critical to everything that the Mariners did right tonight. He bowed out of the game with two assists, two interceptions, one tackle, and a 94% passing accuracy to his name.