AFC Cup 2019: Chennaiyin FC defeat Manang Marshyangdi in maiden group stage win
CFC Media
The former Indian Super League champions lead the South Asian group after two rounds...

Chennaiyin FC emerged 2-0 victors over Nepalese side Manang Marshyangdi in a 2019 AFC Cup Group E game at the TransStadia in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

Chris Herd (51') and Mailson Alves (53') scored in quick succession in the second half to hand the Machans their first-ever victory in the finals of a continental competition.

Playing their fifth game in sixteen days, Chennaiyin made five changes from their Super Cup final defeat to FC Goa over the weekend.

Raphael Augusto was injured as John Gregory lined his side up in a 4-3-3 formation with Thoi Singh and Mohammad Rafi flanking Jeje Lalpekhlua in the attack.

John Gregory Chennaiyin Manang Marshyangdi AFC Cup

The two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champions began with much gusto as Jeje and Thoi combined well on the right.

Right back Laldinliana Renthlei was relentless in his crossing as he fed Rafi inside the box in the 23rd minute but the former India international failed to keep his shot on target.

Sujal had the only shot on target for the visitors late into the first half from a freekick and Karanjit Singh made a routine save.

Chennaiyin Manang Marshyangdi AFC Cup

Interestingly, fourth official Yu Ming-Hsun took over refereeing duties from Oman's Qasim Al-Hatmi after the first half.

It was Australian midfielder Herd that opened the scoring six minutes after the change of ends. The former Aston Villa man received the ball from Rafi to make a straight run into the penalty area. Going past a defender, Herd then lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Bishal Shrestha's head, who was off his line.

Within two minutes, Chennaiyin had doubled their lead. This time, it was skipper Mailson Alves who connected well from Anirudh Thapa's corner kick.

Despite Kamal Shrestha guarding the goal line, the Brazilian headed in between the defender and the goalkeeper to leave Chhiring Gurung's men staring at a possible early exit.

Chennaiyin Manang Marshyangdi AFC Cup

Abhishek Rijal could have halved the deficit seconds after coming on but the midfielder's attempt from Heman Gurung's long ball dropped onto the outer top-netting.

In the final few minutes, Jeje and substitute Vineeth both had their moments in the opposition half as did Rijal with some acrobatics but the 2-0 scoreline remained intact.

After the first two rounds, Chennaiyin and Bangladesh's Abahani Dhaka both are on four points but the Indian side leads the South Asian zone group with a better goal difference.

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