Ahmedabad: Chennaiyin FC got the better of Ahmedabad’s ARA FC 3-1 in its first pre-season friendly at The Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad.
New signings Andre Schembri and Nerijus Valskis got on the scoresheet, while the returning young Indian forward Rahim Ali also netted from close range. Head coach John Gregory gave all the members of Chennaiyin’s pre-season squad a run-out.
After a slow start, CFC, led by Lucian Goian in the first period, found its feet and eventually took the lead through Schembri. Dragos Firtulescu found the Maltese forward in the box with a pinpoint pass. The latter took a touch before firing in from an acute angle, his shot taking a slight deflection. Chennaiyin doubled its lead five minutes before the break.
Dragos found an overlapping Edwin Vanspaul on the right flank, with the full-back sending in a delightful cross. Schembri did well to loop the ball goalwards as an onrushing Rahim tapped home from inches out. The first period ended in frantic fashion as ARA pulled a goal back.
Chennaiyin restored its two-goal cushion in the final half, thanks to a penalty kick. Valskis was pushed from behind as he jumped to head a Hendry Antonay cross goalwards. Watching the action unfold, the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
Valskis stepped up and sent his penalty low to the keeper’s right. CFC controlled possession in the closing stages to get its pre-season off to a positive start.