Chennayin victorious over TRAU, set up knockout qualifying clash with Neroca

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Imphal: The Thomas Brdaric trained Chennayin FC (CFC) ran out comfortable 4-1 winners over 10-man Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC, at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal, setting up a mouthwatering final group clash against the other local side Neroca FC, which on September 5, will determine the second spot from Group C.

Even before referee Arumughan pronounced marching orders for Salam Johnson Singh near the end of the first half, TRAU were being completely dominated in the game by a determined CFC, in search of a first win in the tournament.

In the very first minute of the game, a long ball found Croatian striker Petar Sliskovic in space and he made no mistake. In 16 seconds, the score read 1-0 in CFC’s favour.

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CFC’s attacks continued and, in one such move, TRAU keeper Jedidi Haokip mistimed his challenge on Sliskovic and Arumughan pointed to the spot. Ghanaian Kwame Karikari converted without much fuss. CFC were 2-0 up with 20minutes on the clock.

At about the half-hour mark, a wonderful free-kick from Anirudh Thapa found Sliskovic free again, but his header missed the target from close.

Then came the marching orders for Johnson and for some time after that at least, it looked to have spurred TRAU into action. Livewire Baoringdao Bodo in one of his bulldozing runs unleashed a shot which ballooned off the keeper and hit Sajid Dhot’s arm as he tried to backtrack and salvage the situation. TRAU skipper Komron Tursunov converted the game’s second penalty at the stroke of half-time. But any hopes TRAU might have had of a comeback were crushed very quickly by a rampaging CFC after the break.

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Rahim Ali in the 48th minute after a layoff by Sliskovic, unleashed a powerful shot but it was well saved by Haokip, who had a lot to do on the day. A minute later Vafa, missed with a free header off a corner.

But the Iranian got his goal in the 51st when off a trademark floating Thapa corner, he jumped tallest, completely unmarked yet again, to head in for CFC’s third of the evening.

They did not relent though and in the 54th, Edwin Vanspaul’s thunderbolt, shook the cross bar after beating Dinesh and came back.

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Finally, in the 55th, Sliskovic got his second with a yet another free header and there was no way back for TRAU.

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