North East United FC lost their second game of the Indian Super League (ISL) as defending champions Chennaiyin FC shaded the table-toppers 1-0 in Guwahati on Thursday.
Italian striker Davide Succi (49th minute) scored a brilliant second half goal to help his team to grab the second win of the tournament.
They are now at third spot in the points table with seven points while North East remained top of the heap with 10 points from six matches.
North East made just one change bringing in Nirmal Chhetri who was serving a suspension in place of Reagan Singh, while Marco Materazzi made three changes with Maurizio Peluso, Bernard Mendy, and Siam Hangal replacing the trio of Manuele Blassi, John Arne Riise and Jayesh Rane.
There were no clear cut chances in the first half but Subrata Paul pulled off a brace of saves from Peluso to keep things level.
As the half wore on, tempers flared with Succi and North East’s marquee player Didier Zokora getting involved in a scuffle.
The hosts were dealt a blow when Nico Velez had to be replaced by Wellington Priori in what looked like the former had picked up a niggle.
Both teams went into the break with the score 0-0.
Four minutes into the second half, Chennaiyin FC took the lead courtesy a superb volley from Succi. Against the run of play, the Bologna-born Italian turned towards goal and netted at one go from the edge of the box.
Since conceding the goal, the Highlanders upped the ante and raided their rival citadel numerous times. Romaric and Holicharan Narzary came close but Emiliano Alfaro had the best chance to level things but for the brilliance of Mendy who made a inch perfect tackle to deny the in-form hitman just when he was about to pull the trigger.
Alfaro got another chance to equalise late in the match when he nodded a beautifully floated free kick by Yusa Katsumi over the bar.