AFC Cup: Chennaiyin FC, Minerva Punjab share spoils in group stage opener

first_imgAFC Cup: Chennaiyin FC, Minerva Punjab share spoils in group stage openerChennaiyin FC, winner of Indian Super League 2017-18, and Minerva Punjab, winner of I-League 2017-18, played out a goalless draw in their group stage opener of the AFC Cup.advertisement Press Trust of India AhmedabadApril 3, 2019UPDATED: April 3, 2019 23:32 IST AFC Cup: Chennaiyin FC and Minerva Punjab played out a goalless draw (@ChennaiyinFC Photo)HIGHLIGHTSChennaiyin FC and Minerva Punjab played out a goalless drawChennaiyin FC are the winners of Indian Super League 2017-18Minerva Punjab are the winners of I-League 2017-18Chennaiyin FC drew goalless with Minerva Punjab in an all-Indian 2019 AFC Cup group stage opener at The Arena Stadium in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.This was both club’s maiden appearance in the group stages of the continental competition. It was also Chennaiyin’s fourth successive clean sheets in all competitions.Head coach John Gregory made three changes to the CFC starting XI that beat Mumbai City FC 2-0 in the Super Cup last week.Anirudh Thapa, Isaac Vanmalsawma and Gregory Nelson made way as Thoi Singh, Halicharan Narzary and Raphael Augusto started. Dhanpal Ganesh and Jerry Lalrinzuala began a second successive game from the bench, on their return from injury.FULL-TIME | Chennaiyin FC (IND) 0-0 Minerva Punjab (IND)The points are split between @ChennaiyinFC & @minervapunjabfc in their opening Group E encounter! #CNYvMFC #AFCCup2019 pic.twitter.com/5voW3OfgWCAFC Cup (@AFCCup) April 3, 2019For Minerva, all three of their new signings forward Samuel Lalmuanpuia and defenders Kareem Nurain and Robert Primus started from the outset.After a slow opening few minutes, Chennaiyin grew into the match with a succession of quick chances. The first fell to Jeje Lalpekhlua in the Minerva box, but the striker’s shot deflected out for a corner. The resulting set-piece saw CFC’s Brazilian center-back Eli Sabia head it wayward.A minute later, CK Vineeth outmuscled Minerva skipper Mahmoud Al-Amna in the middle of the park and freed Thoi Singh on the right flank. The Manipuri winger found Jeje in the box, who laid it up for Raphael Augusto, whose shot went above the crossbar.advertisementMinerva then tested CFC keeper Karanjit Singh from distance in the 25th minute. Ghanaian midfielder Kalif Alhassan’s shot was parried away by the custodian.Few minutes later, Samuel stung Karanjit’s gloves with another shot from distance after the ball fell to him from a CFC clearance. From the corner, Alhassan’s header hit the upright and went out for a goal-kick.It became a tighter affair as the half progressed. Both sides continued to create inroads but the play in the final third lacked precision as it remained goalless at the break.Minerva made a change soon after the restart, with Moinuddin replacing Prabhjot Singh. And Chennaiyin brought on Anirudh Thapa for Halicharan.The first big chance of the second period fell CFC’s way on the hour mark when Thoi’s header from a Tondonba cross went agonisingly wide of the far post.Also Read | AFC Olympic Qualifiers: India women sail past Indonesia with 2-0 winFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Tags :Follow AFC CupFollow Chennaiyin FCFollow Minerva PunjabFollow goalless drawFollow group stageFollow ISLFollow i-league Nextlast_img