Chennai: Super-sub Mohammed Rafi's header in the 89th minute helped Chennaiyin FC secure a 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC in an Indian Super League game at the Nehru stadium on Sunday.
The visitors had taken the lead in the 32nd minute through a brilliant strike from Wellington Priori and kept the Chennaiyin side at bay with some superb defending.
The Jamshedpur team coached by Steve Coppell, as is their wont, held back after going ahead in the first half, which perhaps proved their undoing. Also, the players seemed to be tired in rather humid conditions towards the end of the match.
The equaliser came when Rafi headed home a cross from Rene Mihelic, leaving Jamshedpur custodian Subrata Paul stranded. It was Rafi's second goal of the season.
Towards the end of the game, Mihelic sent in a precise ball into the box but Henrique Sereno couldn't connect, much to the relief of the rival defence.
In the first half, Chennaiyin forwards couldn't get their way past the organised Jamshedpur defence even as the rivals put together some threatening moves.
Chennaiyin's Raphael Augusto got past Raju Yumnam and forayed into the box but saw but couldn't get any further.
The next chance of note came in the 16th minute when a backheel from Gavilan afforded shooting space for Raphael outside the area, but the Brazilian's shot did not trouble Paul.
The goal came in the 32nd minute when a long free-kick into the box was headed out by CFC's Inigo Calderon. However, the ball lobbed up towards Priori, whose powerful right-foot volley flew past a diving Karanjit Singh to leave the home supporters stunned.
In the 54th minute, Raphael Augusto had a great chance as Bikey's clearance went straight to him but he shot wide.
As the game wore on, Chennaiyin piled up the pressure and strung together some good moves before the goal came.
Chennaiyin stays in third spot in the standings with 28 points, two ahead of Jamshedpur, which breathing down its neck in fourth spot. Both teams have two matches to go as the race for the play-off berths gets tighter.
Chennaiyin plays Kerala Blasters in the next match, away on February 23 before rounding off the league phase with a game against Mumbai City FC at home.