The St Joseph's-CFA Senior Division Football league resumed after the prolonged rain-break with Southern Railway hammering STEDS 3-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Though STEDS, with six main players missing, exhibited conviction in the second half, first half goals from Railway strikers PC Riju and M Elamurugan had already tilted the contest from them.
The opening half was as one-sided as it could get, as opposed to STEDS‘ opening match against ICF, wherein they displayed promise in the first half but fizzled out in later stages. Their already weakened defence crumbled further as they couldn't match the pace of Riju and comprehend the vision of Sirajudeen, their midfield mainstay.
They were culpable of letting Sirajudeen free to operate in the vacant pockets on the right and he delivered sharp crosses time and time again to disarray them. They could have secured lead within the first 10 minutes, but for sloppy finishing, as both Riju and Elamurugan couldn't fulfill the menace of Sirajudeen's measured crosses. But given the frequency of their forays, it was only a matter of time before Riju scored. Upon collecting the ball from the right, he chipped the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper TG Rajaguru in the 14th minute.
Five minutes later, Elamurugan steered home another supreme cross from Sirajudeen on the right. His second goal, eight minutes thence, was better executed. Sirajudeen’s cross seemed to elude him at the near post but his left-leg stretch enabled him to gather the ball. The first touch was so good that he had enough time to dink the ball past Rajaguru from close range. Later in the half, the custodian made a couple of tough saves to deny the Railways from taking a runaway lead.
Not that STEDS didn't have chances. Striker Shah Jahan, understandably taken off soon after, contrived to squander three straightforward chances. But they were offered a lifeline when R Anand scored in the 52nd minute, a delightfully floated strike over the goalkeeper.
Results: Southern Railway 3 bt STEDS 1; First Division: Chennai City Police 2 (Kanakaraj 46, Jaffer Sadiq 57) bt Nethaji Sports Club 0.