CHENNAI: Mumbai City FC piled on the misery on Chennaiyin FC after they handed the defending champions a 1-0 defeat at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai. It was Chennaiyin’s fifth loss in six matches in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 season, as the two-time champions stay rooted to the bottom of the table with only one point to their name.
For Mumbai, it was their second win on a trot and Jorge Costa’s men have climbed up to the fifth position in the table, with ten points from six matches.
After a cagey start, the first dangerous chance of the match came from the home side. Thoi Singh broke with pace down the right and had two supporting runners alongside him, but the Chennaiyin no. 11’s cross couldn’t find any of his onrushing teammates. Chennaiyin looked the dominant side in the early goings, keeping the ball well and even carved out a few half-chances, but nothing potent enough to worry Amrinder Singh in the Mumbai goal.
Mumbai quickened the pace of the game after the 17th minute and reaped the benefits almost instantly after Rafael Bastos found Modou Sougou with a lovely through ball. The Portuguese attacker’s first shot was blocked well by Karanjit Singh, but the rebound fell to Sougou again who gratefully slotted the ball home. The provider almost turned scorer just four minutes later, but Bastos’ long ranger ended up on the wrong side of the post.
Chennaiyin stepped up their efforts to search of an equaliser, but all their forward forays were snuffed out by the Mumbai defence. The home side’s best chance of the first half came on the 26th minute when Andrea Orlandi pulled the trigger from 30 yards out, only to drag his shot wide.
Orlandi also had a penalty shout a few minutes later after Subhasish Bose stuck a foot out to stop him on the edge of the box, but the referee wasn’t interested. Mumbai entered the break with a one-goal cushion over the defending champions.
Shortly after the restart, Mumbai could have doubled their lead as Sougou found space inside the Chennaiyin box. He turned quickly to get his shot away, but Karanjit made a great save to keep him out. The Portuguese got another big chance just before the hour mark only for Eli Sabia to put in a crucial block.
On the hour mark, Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory brought on Germanpreet Singh and Gregory Nelson in place of Isaac Vanmalsawma and Orlandi, to inject some pace and urgency into the side. The home side almost found a way through immediately with Salom’s deflected shot, which eluded Amrinder but came back off the post. The ricochet fell to Thoi, but the Mumbai goalkeeper somehow kept the ball out of the goal.
With Chennaiyin throwing bodies forward in search of the leveller, Mumbai were content to sit back and play on the counter attack. Both teams managed to engineer some decent chances late in the game, but the score remained unchanged till the final whistle.