Our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI: Chennaiyin FC snatched a 1-1 draw from the jaws of defeat, courtesy a 90th minute equalizer, against Minerva Punjab in the AFC Cup Group E match at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here today.
Minerva were under immense pressure after having failed to secure a single win in their first four Group E encounters and looked on course for their first win when Chennaiyin equalized.
Chennaiyin FC, favourites in the game, controlled the first half. Not only did they keep Minerva off the ball but also gave themselves several chances to score through the pair of Isaac Vanmalsawma and Anirudh Thapa.
It was only in the last few minutes of the first half that Minerva started clawing their way back into the game.
There was an attempted curled effort by Moinuddin Khan in the 40th minute that was stopped by Karanjit. A couple of minutes later, Samuel Lalmuanpuia stretched Karanjit Singh again with a long range shot.
In the 62nd minute, Lalmuanpuia finally broke the deadlock after his shot perfectly beat two defenders and a flying Karanjit, the goalkeeper.
A number of ambitious runs and long shots by the Chennaiyin players dominated the final 10 minutes and the pressure eventually paid off when Mohammed Rafi equalized in the 90th minute.
Meanwhile, Minerva Punjab FC goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh suffered a serious injury in his face during the game and was taken off the field in an ambulance to a city hospital. The incident happened at the very early stage of the game.
Minerva Punjab will meet Abahani Dhaka in their final group game on next Wednesday at the same venue.