ISL: Ruthless Chennaiyin FC thrash Mumbai City FC 5-1
On a night when Chennai’s adopted son, MS Dhoni was there to watch his troops, Chennaiyin FC gave their co-owner plenty to cheer about as they barely broke a sweat in thrashing an insipid Mumbai City FC 5-1. A masterclass from Elano, and great running and finishing from the strikers Jeje and Mendoza, saw Chennaiyin take advantage of Mumbai City playing a high backline, and were very clinical in front of goal.
They got the their tactics spot on, and were able to contain Mumbai’s attacks. Anelka though was decent on his ISL debut, but did not get any major chances to speak of.
Chennaiyin dominated Mumbai with their incisive passing
Player-manager Marco Materazzi finally decided to take the pitch, as Chennai made their intentions clear right from the outset. As early as the 7th minute, a powerful run from John Mendoza drew a foul inside the area from Friedrich, and Elano was on hand to calmly dispatch the penalty away. Mumbai threatened briefly after with tame efforts from Manuel Friedrich and Subash SIngh. But from there it all unraveled for Mumbai.
In the 26th minute, a fantastic through ball from Elano set Jeje Lalpekhlua through on goal, and the young Indian made absolutely no mistake with a swift finish with his left foot. A few minutes later, an Elano free kick was fumbled by Mumbai ‘keeper Subrata Pal, and Mendoza got to the rebound faster than the Mumbai defenders for an easy tap in.
A couple of minutes later, the Chennai crowd went into delirium, as a perfect pass from Harmanjot Khabra picked out Mendoza and the Colombian lobbed the ball over Pal before finishing to make it 4-0.
Mendoza could have made it 5 for Chennai and completed his hat-trick soon after, but his left-footed drive went just wide. That was the last action of a half in which Chennai had thoroughly outplayed Mumbai.
Professional second half killed the game
Peter Reid responded by putting on Tiago Ribeiro at the restart, but it was of little effect, as Mumbai conceded another goal through a sublime free kick from Elano. Although the angle seemed too acute to have a direct shot on goal, Elano got the ball to curve in at the far post, and Pal was well and truly caught napping.
Reid had yesterday stressed on the importance of keeping Elano quiet, but whatever his plan was, it was clearly not working. The Brazilian was afforded plenty of room in midfield, and he made Mumbai pay, as he gave a masterclass, spraying the ball around all over the pitch.
He nearly got a hat-trick soon after that as he had a couple of chances. One with a free kick that went just wide, and another of his own making. He wove his way through the Mumbai defense to get one-on-one with Pal, only to completely fluff his lines after that.
After that, it was all about match-management for Chennai, and they did that perfectly well, as Bojan Djordjic came on to replace Materazzi. The Swede marshalled the midfield very professionally as they held on.
But, late on, the only sour note in Chennai’s otherwise perfect night came as Syed Rahim Nabi sneaked in at the far post to head home an Andre Moritz corner.
On a night when Dhoni and the rest of the Chennaiyin FC hierarchy watched on, it was quite a stunning effort from the Chennai players as they killed the game off in the first half, and then executed their plan of keeping possession in the second half perfectly. All in all, it was a perfect way for Chennai to bounce back from that humbling they siffered in Delhi three days ago,