ISL: Mumbai City rally to down Chennaiyin, stay atop

The hero
Adam Le Fondre, right, exults after scoring the winner. Photo: ISL

Bambolim (Goa): Mumbai City FC rallied to down Chennaiyin FC 2-1 and consolidate their position at the top of the Indian Super League points table at the GMC Stadium here on Wednesday.

The win took Mumbai to 12 points from five matches, while Chennaiyin remain in eighth place with just four points from as many games.

Adam Le Fondre smashed in a 75th-minute winner after Hernan Santana (45’) had canceled Jakub Sylvestr’s first goal. The result saw Sergio Lobera's team win their fourth game on the trot.

It’s not often that Lobera makes many changes to his starting eleven. But on Thursday, four changes were made to the Mumbai City starting line-up which defeated Odisha FC 2-0 with Le Fondre and Santana starting the game. Amey Ranawade and Raynier Fernandes were the other two to come in.

Csaba Laszlo opted for a double change to the team that lost to Bengaluru FC. Fatkhullo Fatkhulloev and Germanpreet Singh started in place of Esmael Goncalves and Anirudh Thapa.

Chennaiyin FC had a perfect start and would have been ahead in the second minute if it was not for Sylvestr missing a sitter. Rafael Crivellaro delivered a perfect corner which was flicked in by Enes Sipovic and found Sylvestr, who missed the target.

Mumbai weren’t at their best and took time to settle. But they did have their moments. The home side’s best chance came in the 25th minute when Le Fondre had a clear sight on goal, but his powerful drive from inside the box, was straight at keeper Vishal Kaith. The rebound fell to Bipin Singh, but he couldn’t utilise the opportunity.

Chennaiyin were clearly the better side in the opening quarter creating numerous chances through Lallianzuala Chhangte, Sipovic and Crivellaro. They deservingly took the lead in the 40th minute. Sylvestr scored probably the easiest goal of the season.  Chhangte deserved credit for his initial spadework on the right before he played a low cross from the byline to find Sylvestr, who slotted it in.

Pumped up
Hernan Santana, third left, reacts after scoring Mumbai City FC's equaliser. Photo: ISL

Just when it looked like Chennaiyin would walk into the breather with a goal advantage, Mumbai’s Santana had different plans. The Spaniard, who was unmarked at the far post, nodded in a Hugo Boumous’ corner to restore parity.

The intensity dropped after the restart but Chennaiyin continued to test Mumbai’s defence. However, Mourtada Fall and keeper Amrinder Singh were at their best.

Mumbai shot into the lead in the 75th minute through another set-piece. Ahmed Jahouh’s long free-kick was flicked in by Rowllin Borges to Boumous. The Frenchman headed into the path of Le Fondre, who finished from close range.

Chennaiyin nearly scored an equaliser in stoppage time, but Sylvestr’s header narrowly went wide.

First blood
Jakub Sylvestr put Chennaiyin ahead in the first half. Photo: ISL

(With inputs from ISL Media)