Soundarajan deployed his Chennai City side in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Jean-Michael Joachim leading the line for the home side. Michael Soosairaj slotted in behind him with Edwin Vanspaul and Alexander Jesuraj on the either flanks.
Chennai City FC remained winless at home after being held to a 1-1 draw by Aizawl FC in an I-League clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday. Yugo Kobayashi had given the visitors the lead as early as the third minute while Antony Beutin (73') got the equaliser for the hosts.
The visitors also lined up in a similar formation with Japanese forward Yugo Kobayashi as the furthest attacker. Star playmaker Andrei Ionescu was given the responsibility once again of pulling the strings in attack in an advanced midfield role.
The two combined together to put Aizawl ahead in the third minute of the match itself. The Romanian burst through inside the box before squaring the ball to Kobayashi and the Japanese striker applied a cool finish to make it 1-0.
The hosts could have restored parity almost immediately after Aizawl custodian Avilash Paul was robbed off the ball by Joachim but Soosairaj bafflingly smashed the ball into the crossbar with the entire goal at his mercy.
Ionescu almost made it two for the defending champions within a span of a few minutes after another mazy run into the box but this time Poljanec was on hand to deny the Romanian.
The home side picked up the pace as the half progressed and Edwin came close twice with his head after some excellent deliveries by Romario.
Ionescu then watched his left-footed curled strike bounce back after smashing the frame of the goal with Poljanec well beaten. After taking a 1-0 lead into the half-time break, the visitors struck the post once again in the start of the second period after Kobayashi got his head to David’s free-kick.
Chennai came roaring out of the blocks in the second period in search of the equalizer but their finishing deserted let them down a few times. However, the mounting pressure ultimately paid off as Laldinliana failed to intercept a straight forward through ball allowing Beutin to burst through on goal. The substitute then cut onto his right before curling the ball beautifully into the top right corner.
Both sides searched for a winner in the final 10 minutes and Dodoz had a looping effort sail just over the bar with Poljanec caught in no-man’s land. After a scramble at both ends towards the dying minutes, the two sides shared the spoils as the score remained locked at 1-1.
The result meant Chennai climbed one spot into ninth position while Aizawl remained stationary at sixth.