Mihelic’s penalty secures second spot for Chennaiyin
Chennaiyin FC edged Mumbai City FC 1 – 0 in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. Rene Mihelic’s second-half spot-kick made all the difference as Mumbai finished their campaign in seventh spot.
The teams were cautious to begin with, as the ball was mostly played in midfield without any real attack in the final third. The Islanders got the first shot on target in the 13th minute when Zakeer Mundampara tried his luck from distance, but his shot was directed straight at Chennaiyin custodian Pawan Kumar, who held on to the ball.
Four minutes later, Mihelic fashioned a chance for the visitors after he latched on to a volley following Mumbai goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja’s punched clearance. However, his shot from the edge of the box was narrowly wide.
Shortly before the half-hour mark, Leo Costa pounced on a loose ball and took a touch before unleashing a fierce strike. But the shot went inches wide of the upright. Soon after, Jaime Gavilan was looking to cut in from the right and shoot, but Lucian Goian’s fair tackle brought him down. Raju Gaikwad’s consequent clearance fell straight to Jude Nworuh and his shot deflected off the keeper before coming off the post. It proved to be the last bit of action from the opening period as the teams went into the break without the deadlock being broken.
Four minutes after the hour mark, Jude’s cutback from the left was met with a sweet first-time shot by Gavilan with the outside of his left foot. However, Arindam was equal to it with a brilliant diving save.
With 67 minutes on the clock though, Chennaiyin took the lead. Mehrajuddin Wadoo brought down Gavilan in the box, prompting the referee to point to the spot. Mihelic stepped up and although Arindam guessed the right direction from the Slovenian’s penalty and got a hand to it, he couldn’t keep it out.
Then a minute into added time, Achille Emana struck a powerful free-kick from the edge of the box, but the effort was straight at Arindam who gathered after an initial fumble. It proved to be the last chance of the match as Chennaiyin finished the league phase as the second-best team.
Club Award: Chennaiyin FC
Swift Limitless Player: Rene Mihelic
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Jude Nworuh
Amul Fittest Player: Leo Costa
Emerging Player: Germanpreet Singh
Hero of the Match: Jaime Gavilan
Watch the match highlights here: