Chennai City showed their tremendous comeback capabilities raced to a 3-1 victory over Minerva Punjab after trailing 1-0, in order to win the 2018-19 I-League title on the final matchday at the Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore on Saturday.
Roland Bilala handed Minerva Punjab a shock lead in the third minute of the game. But Pedro Manzi scored from the spot to equalise just before the hour mark. Then, Gaurav Bora's brace in the 69th and 93rd minute sealed the title for the Akbar Nawas' side.
Chennai City star defender Roberto Eslava had to pull out from the starting eleven before the game after he suffered a muscle sprain. He was replaced by Tarif Akhand.
Minerva Punjab made three alterations starting with Nidhin Lal replacing Arshdeep Singh in goal. Moinuddin Khan and Sreyas V.G. were also dropped to make way for Roland Bilala and Makan Chothe.
It was a bright start from Chennai City but Minerva drew first blood in the third minute through Roland Bilala. Juan Quero swung in an inch perfect ball from a set-piece which was headed home by the Ukranian. The side from Punjab held on to their advantage at half-time.
However, Chennai City FC came out to be a totally different beast after half-time as they ended up scoring three times in the second half to shock Ranjit Bajaj's side.
Goals from Pedro Manzi in the 56th minute and a brace by Bora in the 69th and 93rd minute ensured that Chennai City claimed the I-League title in some style.
When Champions 🦁 celebrate... !!! pic.twitter.com/ijQfQXYgwA— Chennai City FC (@ChennaiCityFC) March 9, 2019
Here's how Indian football fans and fraternity on social media reacted to Chennai's title win:
Congrats on your win @ChennaiCityFC, congrats on your fearless effort; and wish you many congrats for your future sports.@ILeagueOfficial @IndianFootball #ileague #ILeagueIConquer https://t.co/0wQ8QvRcrr— Praful Patel (@praful_patel) March 9, 2019
Congratulations @ChennaiCityFC . You deserve it . Thanks to Coach #Akbar sir and especially @roh00 sir . Both of you make Tamil Nadu to be proud. Also you two people Find Young talented players from local place . Hat's off to @roh00 , #Akbar coach and @ChennaiCityFC 😍😍😍✌️✌️✌️— Raghuvicky (@Rvmsdthala) March 9, 2019
Congratulation @ChennaiCityFC for @ILeagueOfficial champion.— INDIAN🇮🇳 (@INDIAN95056449) March 9, 2019
Congratulation @eastbengalfc for runner up at @ILeagueOfficial , please try to cross #GANGA
💐🌸🏵🌹🌺🌻🌼🌷@IndianFootball @Indiansuperleag @HeroMotoCorp @QuessEastBengal pic.twitter.com/CAs1CuqhTJ
2018, chennai super kings— C̥ͦr̥ͦḁͦz̥ͦy̥ͦ b̥ͦo̥ͦy̥ͦ ☠️ (@Sathiya06050064) March 9, 2019
2018, chennaiyin fc
2019, chennai city fc🔥
Please put the final points table pic— Vedeswaran Balakumar (@the5thveda) March 9, 2019
Yes, Tamil Nadu has football history. ⚽⚽— TN Raghu (@tnrags) March 9, 2019
* 1955 & 1958 Madras Regimental Centre, Ooty (Durand Cup)
* 2015 & 2017-18 @ChennaiyinFC (@IndSuperLeague)
* 2018 Tamil Nadu Women (senior national championship)
* 2019 @ChennaiCityFC (@ILeagueOfficial)#கோப்பைநமதே@NovyKapadia
When we made the dressing room, a mess 🙌😍🦁 ! pic.twitter.com/ujIxSGkUFv— Chennai City FC (@ChennaiCityFC) March 9, 2019
Another sporting #Champion team from #Chennai!— Suhail Chandhok (@suhailchandhok) March 9, 2019
Savour the moment and soak it all in...@ChennaiIPL, @ChennaiyinFC, @ChennaiSpartans & now #ChennaiCityFC...BRAVO!#CCFC #HeroIleague #Football @StarFootball @StarSportsIndia