Chennaiyin FC started from where they had left off in Goa, recording a 2-0 victory over Mumbai City FC thanks to Stiven Mendoza’s brace at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Friday. Mendoza scored for Chennaiyin in the 60th and 66th minutes, taking his tally to five goals in four games. A 21,321-strong crowd witnessed Mumbai City FC play their first home game of the season.
Mumbai City welcomed back into the fold the duo of Sunil Chhetri and goalie Subrata Paul, who were away on national duty and didn’t play in the team’s previous matches. Chennaiyin largely stuck with the same starting eleven that beat FC Goa 4-0, the only difference being the reintroduction of Alessandro Potenza in the back line after he was rested for the previous game.
The first half started at a frenetic pace, with both teams having a go at each other from the word go. Mendoza and Elano came close to scoring for the visitors, the latter with a trademark free-kick saved by Paul for Mumbai. For the home team, Sony Norde came close to scoring directly with a curling corner which needed Apoula Edel to tip the ball over the bar. Norde was also involved in an interesting wing battle with Chennaiyin’s Mehrajuddin Wadoo.
With the game being played tight at the back by both teams, the opener came due to a slip-up in the second half by Mumbai City player Pratesh Shirodkar whose poor pass in defence was intercepted by Elano. The Brazilian then played it to Mendoza for a finish into the empty net. The second goal came six minutes later as Mendoza was the quickest to react to a shot from Jayesh Rane coming off the crossbar and headed in past Paul.
Mendoza was denied a chance to score his second hat-trick in as many games as a knock forced him to make way for Fikru Teferra. For Mumbai City, super-sub Gabriel Fernandes looked lively from the moment he came on and tried to force affairs from the right wing but his efforts were not enough as Chennaiyin looked comfortable sitting back and defending the scoreline.
Chennaiyin FC coach Materazzi will surely be delighted with another three points on the road, while Nicolas Anelka, Mumbai’s marquee player-cum-coach, will have to take the positives from this game and regroup his squad as Mumbai City have a run of another four games at home.