FC Pune City were handed a slender 1-0 defeat at home as Chennaiyin FC maintained their unbeaten record against the Stallions at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Sunday. Henrique Sereno (81') scored the only goal of the game to round off the first win on the road for the Abhishek Bachchan co-owned side.
Ranko Popovic handed a start to Vishal Kaith in between the sticks while Adil Khan got the nod ahead of Rohit Kumar in midfield. John Gregory named an unchanged eleven from the match against NorthEast United. Jeje Lalpekhlua operated as the lone striker for the visitors.
It was a stop-start affair as neither team could find their rhythm as mispasses, fouls and free-kicks were the order of the day.
The first chance befell the home side when Alfaro’s pass on the turn eventually came to the feet of Rafa Lopez inside the box and the Spanish defender’s shot missed the far corner by a couple of inches.
Marcelinho’s free-kick midway through the first half only needed a touch from Rafa inside the box but Karanjit was alert to the danger as he punched the ball out for a corner.
Around the half hour mark, Alfaro scored on the rebound from a Sahni cross but the linesman rightly flagged him offside.
Chennai could have taken the lead towards the closing stages of the first half. Rafa had to make a goal-line clearance from Gregory Nelson’s diving header after a cross from Calderon.
In the second half too, neither side could create any clear-cut openings.
Rafa Lopez once again came to the rescue of Pune in the 67th minute. Jerry’s cross was completely misjudged by Kaith in goal. Francis picked up the pieces and his effort was just about cleared in time by Rafa.
Alfaro had a chance in the final quarter of the game when he was through on goal but his effort wasn’t on target.
The breakthrough came in the 81st minute when Kean Lewis conceded a corner. Gavilan’s delivery found Sereno who leapt above Adil to guide the ball home. The ball incidentally went from in between the legs of Lewis in goal.
Chennai held firm as Pune struggled to threaten the opposition's back-line. Pune will have to introspect as to what went wrong against Chennai after producing a listless display.