Chennaiyin FC marquee player Elano Blumer and John Mendoza fired two goals each to steamroll a hapless Mumbai FC 5-1 and bounce back from their previous match defeat in the Hero Indian Super League in Chennai on Tuesday.
Brazilian Elano, with his two goals (ninth and 69th minutes) on Tuesday, became the highest goal scorer in the ISL and was adjudged the hero of the match, while Colombian Mendoza scored the third and fourth goals (40th and 44th). In between, Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua netted the second goal for Chennaiyin FC in the 26th minute.
For Mumbai, Syed Rahim Nabi scored the consolation goal in the 87th minute following a corner kick. In fact, Elano, who found the target from the penalty spot and from a free kick, could have scored on two other occasions also.
Chennaiyin FC manager-cum-player and 2006 World Cup winner Marco Materrazi took the field for the first time in the ISL and the home side controlled for most part of the match against the visitors who has lost their previous match at home at the hands of NorthEast United FC.
With Materrazi coming out to the huge delight of the Chennai fans, the home side showed better co-ordination and cohesion in both attack and defence than against Delhi Dynamos who had thrashed them 4-1 in their previous match at the national capital.
Indian cricket captain and co-owner of Chennaiyin FC, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was seen celebrating at each goal scored by his team.
Former France and Chelsea star Nicholas Anelka’s presence did not bring any change on the fortunes of the Mumbai side who have now lost three matches out of the four they have played so far.
Anelka was playing for the first time for Mumbai City FC as he was serving a five-match ban by Football Association in England for quenelle gesture in December while playing for West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League.
With Materrazi deciding to take the field and manning the central defence, there was total transformation in the attitude of the home players who got the gaps at the Mumbai FC defence.
Throughout the first half, Mumbai players lacked the thrust at the midfield and the defenders played high upfront so often that they let a lot of space on the field between goalkeeper Subrata Paul and midfield.
The home side apparently noticed this and changed their strategy to apply pressure on the wings to find the openings.
Elano and Mendoza combined beautifully. Mendoza will hold onto the ball to move on the centre or snatch from the legs of Mumbai midfield and sped down the wings, mostly on the right.
Whenever he was tackled by the defenders, Elano would be the trump card to take the free-kick and Materrazi, who was substituted in the 58th minute by Bojan Djordjic, to go upfront to try and get the chance to score. This worked well for the home side.
Chennaiyin FC play Atletico de Kolkata in their next game at home on on November 4.