Mendy, Mendoza shine in Chennaiyin FC’s 2-1 win vs Pune
FC Pune City’s search for top spot in the 2015 Hero Indian Super League hit a roadblock as Chennaiyin FC came out winners in a tightly-contested game played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday evening. Bernard Mendy’s header in the 34th minute and Stiven Mendoza’s 48th-minute goal saw the hosts secure all three points in front of the 26,821 supporters, taking Marco Materazzi’s men into the top half of the table. Kalu Uche pulled one back for the visitors in the 75th minute to narrow the scoreline.
Chennaiyin put in a composed show after a 2-0 defeat against NorthEast United FC in their last match. The first half witnessed a show of goalkeeping brilliance, with Steven Simonsen standing tall in goal for Pune, denying Elano twice and then Mendoza in one-on-one situations. For Chennaiyin, goalie Karanjit Singh pulled off a fine fingertip save to deny Dharmaraj Ravanan a goal from a set-piece at point-blank range. But Simonsen was helpless when a long throw-in from Dhanachandra Singh into the box was met by Mendy’s glancing header, well directed in the far corner.
The second half began in the same vein for Chennaiyin, when Elano latched on to a loose ball and threaded it to Mendoza who showed eagerness and outran his marker and went around the keeper to make it six goals in six appearances.
FC Pune City coach David Platt introduced Kalu Uche around the hour mark, which turned out to be a telling substitution. The Nigerian striker was quickest in the box to react to a double save from Karanjit to put the ball into the empty goal, this time the keeper caught out helpless.
Pune pressed forward with more numbers after the goal, but Chennaiyin managed to keep their shape and hold on for a victory, taking them into the top half, level on nine points with FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos FC. Both Pune and Delhi have one game in hand but Chennaiyin take the second position as of now, thanks to a better goal difference. Pune now travel back home to take on Kerala Blasters FC on October 27.
Club Award: Chennaiyin FC
Swift Moment of the Match: Stiven Mendoza (Chennaiyin FC) (Watch here)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Mailson Alves (Chennaiyin FC)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Karanjit Singh (Chennaiyin FC) (Watch here)
Hero of the Match: Bernard Mendy (Chennaiyin FC) (Watch here)