Chennai City wins maiden I-League title

Chennai City FC players celebrate after winning I-League. Photo: Hindustan Times

Chennai City FC came from behind and defeated Minerva Punjab 3-1 to ensure their I-league title on the final matchday at the Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore on Saturday.
They become the first team from Tamil Nadu to win the I-League title. East Bengal, however, caught up with them towards the end and they needed to win the match against Gokulam Kerala and hope for Chennai to lose to win the title.

Ronald Bilala had given Minerva an early lead in the fourth minute to throw the title race wide open once again. The side from Punjab looked like it would hand East Bengal a lifeline in the title race.

Sandro Rodriguez continued the hosts run for the title with his shots at the goal but his efforts went in vain.

Chennai City FC crowned the I-League champion. Photo: AIFF

At half-time, Minevra was leading 1-0.
But, in the second half, Chennai came back strongly into the game and equalized through Pedro Mnazi, who easily converted from the spot in the 56th minute, after a handball by Akashdeep in the box.

With just 20 minutes left in the game, FC Pune City loanee,Gourav Bora  gave Chennai the all-important lead with a right-footed finish. And in the 93rd minute, Chennai got a corner, which was converted by Bora again.

Chennai City finished with 43 points in the top of the table whereas in the other game East Bengal though defeated Gokulam Kerala 2-1 finished second at 42 points.

Chennai City FC captain, Pedro Manzi, the Spaniard won the Golden Boot, after scoring 21 goals in this season.

On January 6, Swiss club Basel purchased a 26 percent share in Chennai City FC. This partnership will open the door for players to play in the European leagues and also help in the development of football in the country.

Chennai City FC will now compete in the Hero Indian Super Cup 2019, which will kick-off from March 15.

The Result: Chennai City (Pedro Manzi 56-pen, Gaurav Bora 69 & 90+2) bt Minerva Punjab FC 1 (Roland R. Bilala 3).

Compiled by- Shuvabrata Garai

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