Mendoza scores second hat-trick as Chennai win the South Indian derby
A 20,483-strong crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai saw Chennaiyin FC return to winning ways in the 2015 Hero Indian Super League as they beat Kerala Blasters FC 4-1 on Saturday evening. An early strike by Dhanachandra Singh and a hat-trick by Stiven Mendoza saw the home side register an important win. Antonio German scored the solitary goal for the visitors late on.
Mendoza’s exploits in the match put him at the top of the goal-scorers’ table on nine goals. The first half saw Chennaiyin FC return to their typical dominating and attacking style of football. Cavin Lobo had the Chennai fans at the edge of their seats when he hit the post in the first minute itself and not long after that Dhanachandra put the Super Machans fans into a frenzy. Entering from the left flank, the Chennaiyin defender volleyed in a powerful shot to put the home team ahead in the third minute.
Mendoza then got in on the act. On 16 minutes, Mendoza latched onto a long cross by Dhanachandra and made his way past a few Kerala Blasters players. What followed next was a meticulously curved shot right into the left end of the goal. Kerala came close to pulling one back when Victor Pulga tried to shoot one past goalkeeper Apoula Edel but the seasoned stopper managed to put it out of bounds.
The second half of this South Indian derby resumed at 2-0, with Thoi Singh creating some trouble for the Kerala defence line. A few chances were created by both sides but nothing came of them. Sandesh Jhingan, however, came close to putting up one on the scoreboard for the Blasters in the 70th minute but his header was off-target.
All this changed in the 79th minute when Mendoza scored his second goal of the match, making it 3-0. The young Colombian finished off neatly from a Thoi cross and he didn’t just stop there. The striker found yet another gaping hole in the Kerala defence and netted in his third goal of the match in the 81st minute, becoming the first Hero ISL player to have scored two hat-tricks.
Kerala managed to pull one back eventually in the 90th minute when a German shot found the back of the net. That proved to be the last goal of the match. With the win, Chennai moved up to sixth in the table, breathing plenty of life into their campaign. Kerala, on the other hand, went one place down to 8th, putting their semi-final chances into serious jeopardy.
Club Award – Chennaiyin FC
Swift Moment of the Match – Dhanachandra Singh [Chennaiyin FC] (Watch here)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match – Victor Pulga [Kerala Blasters FC]
ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Thoi Singh [Chennaiyin FC]
Hero of the Match – Stiven Mendoza [Chennaiyin FC] (Watch here)