Bengaluru, May 16: Former Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC suffered their first AFC Cup defeat, going down 2-3 to Bangladesh club Abahani Limited Dhaka at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
CK Vineeth gave Chennaiyin the lead in the first half, but a second half goal by Abahani's Kervens Belfort, who played for ISL outfit Kerala Blasters, triggered a comeback.
Masih Saighani scored soon after to give Abahani the lead only for Isaac Vanmalsawma to score an equaliser in the 73rd minute. But an 88th minute strike from Mamunul Islam eventually turned out to be the difference between the two sides on the night.
Despite the loss, Chennaiyin stay top of Group E with seven points from four matches. Abahani have the same number of points but possess an inferior goal difference compared to the two-time ISL champions.
John Gregory, who signed a new one-year deal at the club last week, opted to start the match with Vineeth as the lone striker up front, as Jeje Lalpekhlua, who started Chennaiyin's last match against Abahani in Ahmedabad, dropped down to the bench.
Isaac, too, was rewarded with a start after his cameo against the same opponents last month helped turn the tie in Chennaiyin's favour.
After a four-week break, Chennaiyin will take on Minerva Punjab in Guwahati in their penultimate AFC Cup group game on June 19.