Mumbai, Oct 16 (IANS) Forward Steven Mendoza scored a brilliant brace to steer visitors Chennaiyin FC to a convincing 2-0 win over hosts Mumbai City FC at the D.Y. Patil Stadium here on Friday.
After the first half went goalless, the Colombian footballer broke the deadlock in the 60th minute, followed by his second in the 66th minute to help his side to their second win of the season.
With this win, Chennaiyin climb to the third spot with two wins and two losses, whereas Mumbai are now struggling at the seventh spot with two losses and a draw from three games.
Playing their first match at home, the Nicolas Anelka-managed side went in with a 4-4-2 formation after a loss and a draw in the previous two matches. On the other hand, the visitors under Marco Materazzi too went with the same formation after a 4-0 victory against FC Goa in the previous encounter.
With just a few seconds into the first minute of play, Chennaiyin received their first booking when midfielder Thoi Singh stamped on Lalchummawia Fanai’s shoes to get a yellow card.
But the sixth minute saw the best chance coming the visitors’ way when Mendoza’s shot on target from more than the 30 yards box was blocked by Mumbai goalkeeper Subrata Paul to only to concede a corner.
Elano Blumer who took the corner failed to make an impact as his shot was wide that failed to reach his teammates. The home side was not far behind, in the 18th minute of the play Mumbai forward Frederic Piquionne threaded a ball to midfielder Sony Norde who shoots a few inches over the bar to miss a sure chance of going 1-0 up inside 20 minutes.
It was not over yet. Norde tried to get through the Chennaiyin defence a couple of times but failed to break the wall as the visitors’ defenders had surely done their homework pretty well. Both sides tried their best to go ahead but failed to capitalise on the momentum thus ending the first half with score line nil.
The start of the second half saw a much more aggressive play and attack from both the sides. The home side failed to capitalise on the chances they got at the star of the second half. Mumbai had more possession, but Chennaiyin looked more dangerous on the field. Mumbai goalie Paul was tested quite a number of times both in the first half and at the beginning of the second half. Three stunning saves by the Indian goalkeeper made sure Chennaiyin did not have the advantage.
But Mendoza broke the deadlock for the visitors in the 60th minute when rushing Elano snatched the ball from Pratesh Shirodkara to eventually beat the goalie inside the penalty box and to finally pass it to Mendoza who helped his side go 1-0 up with a gentle push into the back of the net. With this, the Colombian scored the fourth goal of the season.
The home side failed to make a comeback and in return conceded yet another goal in the 66th minute to help Chennaiyin go 2-0 up. Thoi Singh from just outside the Mumbai penalty box held off a couple of challenges to finally lay the ball to Jayesh Rane. The Indian curled the ball with his right foot and from outside the box to finally hit the far post.
Mendoza, who was waiting for his second of the night was quite alert to head the ball into the back of the net off a rebound to take his team 2-0 up. From here on it was difficult for the home side to make a comeback, as a couple of chances went either over the post or was shot way off the target.
Chennaiyin too held on firmly in their defence to not let the home side score and were successful as the final whistle blew to have the scoreline going in favour of the visitors. Mumbai next face Delhi Dynamos FC at home on October 21, while Chennaiyin FC will take on NorthEast United FC in an away match on October 20.