Coimbatore: Defending champions Aizawl FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Chennai City at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.
It was the reigning champions however who had gone ahead when Japanese striker Yugo Kobayashi tucked in a cross as early as the the minute. But substitute Antony Beutin’s strike in the 73rd minute earned the hosts an important point from the game.
The draw meant Chennai City remained winless in their last six consecutive fixtures but it lifted them a notch above on ninth now standing on 11 points from 13 games. Aizawl remained on with 16 points after 11 matches.
Aizawl began well taking the lead as early as the third minute when Andrei Ionescu whizzed past his marker before squaring a pass for Kobayashi, who calmly tucked it in.
Chennai almost immediately responded with an equaliser but Soosai Raj hit the crossbar from a touching distance. It was after Jean Joachim snatched a loose ball from Aizawl custodian Avilash Paul to set up his captain. But the midfielder hit the bar with an entire goal at his mercy.
The home side however soon regrouped, dominating possession for the next 15 minutes and came close again when Edwin Vanaspaul had a golden opportunity, but he headed wide.
Ionescu then nearly made it 2-0 for the visitors with another of his run into the box, but Chennai goalkeeper Poljanec was on hand to deny the Romanian this time. Minutes later Ionescu struck the upright, from a free-kick.
Chances came thick and fast for Aizawl but failure to convert, hurt them big time as Chennai came roaring into the second-half and snatched away a point after Beutin netted the equaliser in the 73rd minute.
Laldinliana’s failure to intercept a Soosai Raj through ball allowed Beutin to burst through on goal, who curled the ball beautifully into the top right corner.
Dodoz came into his own in the final 10 minutes and could have scored the winner, had his effort been on goal.