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Chennai City suffer narrow defeat, exit AFC Champions League 2020

( - Chennai City lost to Bahraini club Al Riffa...

Chennai City suffered a narrow 0-1 defeat and were knocked out of the 2020 AFC Champions League by Bahraini club Al Riffa SC in the preliminary round qualifier on Tuesday at the Arena Stadium in Ahmedabad. 

Riffa threatened right from the off and forced the hosts into their backfoot. Chennai struggled to create clear-cut chances for most of the first half, with new signing Fito having to test the goalkeeper with long-range efforts to register shots on target. 

In what was a cagey first-half overall, the Bahraini league defending champions broke the deadlock in the 41st minute. The goal was the result of a good build-up in which Habeen Haroun received the ball outside the box and slid an inch-perfect through-ball into the box for Mahdi Al Jabar to chase. The forward latched onto the ball near the byline, cut inside onto his right foot and slotted into the net past Chennai keeper Nauzet Santana.

The second half was more lively and both teams had an array to chance to add more goals to the scoreline. The hosts threatened to equalise when Jishnu Balakrishnan found Syed Suhail Pasha inside the box but the forward failed to convert. 

Santana produced a couple of excellent saves towards the end to keep Chennai in the hunt for an equaliser but Akbar Nawas' fell short in the final third. 

Riffa SC will take on Iranian club Shahr Khodro in the next round on January 21. Following the ACL exit, Chennai City will now move their attention to the AFC Cup group stage, wherein they are grouped alongside the likes of TC Sports and Bashundhara Kings in Group E. Their group stage campaign will kick-off in February.