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ISL 2020-21: Mumbai City defeat Chennaiyin FC 2-1; Stay on top

ISL 2020-21: Mumbai City defeat Chennaiyin FC 2-1; Stay on top

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 9 Dec 2020 5:05 PM GMT

Mumbai City FC came back from a goal down to win 2-1 against two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim. Goals from Hernan Santana and Adam Le Fondre were enough for the Islanders to register their fourth consecutive victory of the season. Jakub Sylvestr got the only goal for Chennaiyin.

Csaba Laszlo’s men started on the front foot in the first half. They pressed the Mumbai City midfield relentlessly and managed to keep Ahmed Jahouh and Hugo Boumous quiet. Lallianzuala Chhangte was the first to come close when his left-footed shot from outside the penalty area went wide. Soon after, Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev’s shot was blocked by two onrushing Mumbai City defenders.

Mumbai had their first big chance when Boumous latched onto the ball in the centre circle and glided past two defenders before playing it through for Adam Le Fondre. The English striker’s shot was straight at Chennaiyin goalkeeper Vishal kaith, and the rebound was blasted wide by Bipin Singh. Chennaiyin were dealt another blow when defender Enes Sipovic had to be subbed off after picking up a knock.

Chennaiyin scored soon after. Chhangte went on a mazy run past a barrage of defenders down the right and took the ball inside the penalty box. The Mumbai City players for some reason stopped in their tracks abruptly which gave the diminutive winger the time to find Jakub Sylvestr in front of goal to tap it in (1-0). Based on the balance of play, the Marina Machans deserved their lead at that point.

Then just before half-time, Boumous corner found an unmarked Hernan Santana at the far post after Kaith came out of goal and completely missed the flight of the ball. The veteran Spaniard made no mistake as his well-directed header found the bottom left corner (1-1).

Thereafter, Mumbai City came in hard in the second half. As the Chennaiyin players started to tire, Sergio Lobera’s men started enforcing their passing game with greater efficiency. Boumous, Jahouh and Rowlin Borges started seeing more of the ball too. However, chances kept falling for both sides. Bipin fluffed another shot as Crivellaro shot wide. Most of the play was concentrated in the middle as the fouls kept piling on. Chennaiyin were unlucky on two occasions where they should have won a penalty. On both occasions, it was Jahouh who mistimed his tackles but got away with it.

As the game went on, it seemed like it was headed for a draw. Finally, in the 75th minute, Jahouh won a free kick on the edge of the area. His delivery was good and met with by Boumous who nudged it towards Le Fondre. The Chennaiyin defenders were caught napping as Le Fondre toe-poked it past Kaith for his fourth goal of the season (2-1).

That goal seemed to have sapped all the energy from the Chennaiyin players. Isma was brought on in the hopes of a breakthrough but he pulled up after attempting a sprint down the right. This meant that they had to play the last few minutes with ten men having used up their quota of substitution windows. Sergio Lobera then bought a couple of defensive players on and was able to see the game through.

With this win, Mumbai City consolidate their position and open up a 3-point gap at the top of the table. Chennaiyin however, remain at 8th with four points from as many matches. Hugo Boumous, with yet another dominating performance and two assists to boot, was the man who again made the difference tonight. The man of the match however, was Mourtada Fall after making a number of important tackles and interceptions.

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