Chennaiyin FC extend lead at the top with win over Mumbai City FC
Chennaiyin FC scored a late flurry of goals to get past hosts Mumbai City FC by a 3-0 margin, the goals coming from Bruno Pelissari, Dhanachandra Singh and substitute Cristian Hidalgo. The match played at the DY Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday saw Mumbai City’s citadel being finally breached after a run of five clean sheets in a row. The hosts have now slipped down to sixth place in the Hero Indian Super League table, while Chennaiyin (19 points) extend their lead at the top of the table by three points over Atlético de Kolkata.
The first half turned out to be a cagey affair as both teams failed to find that killer pass or moment of brilliance to make it count. Chennai did look like they missed the presence and creativity of Elano, and the pace and directness of John Mendoza. For the hosts, Nicolas Anelka’s absence seemed to take the bite out of their attack.
Chennai keeper Gennaro Bracigliano was called into action though, when Bernard Mendy lost the ball near his box, and André Moritz forced a low diving save from the Frenchman. The rebound came out to Tiago Ribeiro but his shot deflected off Mikaël Silvestre for a corner. Mumbai’s marquee player Freddie Ljungberg, who was on the bench, came on for the injured Moritz and played till the end.
Not much happened in the match till after the 70th minute, when Mumbai’s defence finally succumbed to mounting pressure from Chennaiyin. Pavel Čmovš’ error proved costly for the hosts as Jeje Lalpekhlua pounced on the opportunity and played the ball across for Balwant Singh. The ball instead fell kindly for Pelissari who obliged with a well taken finish.
Chennai went two up when Dhanachandra made the most of a scrappy clearance from a free kick and slotted the ball calmly into the bottom corner past the Mumbai defenders.
The final nail in the Mumbai coffin was hammered by substitute Hidalgo who scored with a brilliant free kick past a diving Subrata Paul, after being brought down outside the box by Johan Letzelter, an effort that the missing Elano would have been proud of.
Peter Reid will hope to rescue his faltering campaign when Mumbai City travel to the national capital to take on Delhi Dynamos FC on November 28 while Chennaiyin travel to Guwahati for a meeting with NorthEast United FC a day earlier.
Hero of the Match: Bruno Pelissari (Chennaiyin FC) (Watch here)
Swift Moment of the Match: Dhanachandra Singh (Chennaiyin FC) (Watch here)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Jan Štohanzl (Mumbai City FC)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Balwant Singh (Chennaiyin FC)