ISL : Chennaiyin FC beat Kerala Blasters FC 2-1
The match ended 2-1 in the favor of the Chennaiyin, thanks to an amazing goal by Bernard Mendy.
After a breather, the ISL was back with a big game. It was the southern derby with Chennaiyin FC taking on Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Chennai. Would Chennai continue their winning run after a first day win over FC Goa or could the Blasters get a point and a goal after an opening day loss to Northeast United FC.
The pitch and the stars –
There was a lot of talk about the condition of the pitch as heavy showers had hit Chennai the day before but the grounds staff had done a wonderful job of keeping the pitch in a decent condition for the game, watched on by Sachin Tendulkar, Rajnikaanth, Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan. The match began with Chennai on the attack and was awarded an early penalty in the 12th minute when Gurwinder, who was already on a yellow card, brought down Abhishek in the penalty box. The referee blew the whistle, though the decision seemed harsh since Gurwinder got the ball.
Elano stepped up and slotted the ball past David James to give Chennai the lead and score his 2nd goal of the competition. The goal woke Kerala up and they started having a proper go at the Chennaiyin defense. The best chance came when Orji played a brilliant dummy and the ball came to the feet of Sabeeth who turned and shot the ball low. The ball came off the post then hit the Chennai defender Mendy before his own goalkeeper clashed into him.
Chennai were happy to counter Kerala and had a great chance to double the lead when the ball was cleared and Valencia, who ran clear of the defense and was one on one with David James, as he rounded the Englishman to try and score into an open goal, he fell over. No penalty was awarded and Valencia was rightly booked for simulation. James was called into action again when Valencia let rip from the edge of the box and James did well to save a goal by using his legs.
Second half, Kerala start off with a bang –
The teams headed into the half time break with Chennai leading but Kerala had more shots on goal and more of the possession. Kerala came out with a vengeance and Bag, the defender had a good chance to test the Chennai goalkeeper but he shot high in the 47th minute. A minute later, Hume won a corner for Kerala, after some pinball in the box, the ball fell to Hume and he swiveled and smashed the ball from 2 feet out, giving Kerala a deserved equalizer.
After a series of substitutions, a free kick was awarded to Chennai, the ball was played in and after a header which skied the ball. Bruno Mendy, a defender, scored for Chennai with a spectacular overhead kick to beat David James to give Chennai a 2-1 lead in the 64th minute. The closest Kerala came to a second equalizer was when they won an indirect free kick when Silvestre played a back pass to the Chennai goalie, Bracigliano who picked up the back pass but Kerala could not take advantage of it.
Chennai were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure, even the introduction of Michael Chopra for Kerala could not help them get a point. Even late pressure by Hume and Sabeeth was not enough as Chennai went on to win their 2nd game of the season while Kerala are still look to open their account in the Indian Super League.
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