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Chennai City register second consecutive home win against Mumbai FC

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Mumbai FC continue their losing streak...

Chennai City came from behind to secure a much-needed 2-1 victory over struggling Mumbai City at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday night.

Chennai pulled themselves out of the relegation zone with the win – although they are exempt from relegation – as they now sit seventh, with Minerva Punjab only managing a draw against Bengaluru. Mumbai, on the other hand, were unsuccessful in avoiding their sixth consecutive defeat; they now sit eighth, one point behind the Saturday’s hosts.

Charles de Souza scored the decider in an emphatic fashion after Indian international Dhanpal Ganesh had nullified Anderson Raimundo da Silva’s opener.

Mumbai were handed defensive boosts with the arrival of two former internationals in Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Djelaludin Sharityar. Thanks to their defensive line’s poor form of late, though, manager Santosh Kashyap was forced to deploy the new arrivals out of their natural position as the bearded veterans played at the heart of the defence. However, his attempts failed to bear fruits.

On the other hand, with Chennai City sacking Robin Charles Raja citing a clash in philosophy, Soundararajan elected to hand local talent Michael Regin his first I-League start, sacrificing top-scorer Marcos Vinicius in the process. His decision paid dividends as Regin’s playing behind Charles de Souza eradicated the lack of chemistry between the midfielders and forwards. Charles’ two ambitious shots in less than 20 minutes bore testimony to the improvement although the frequent mispassing meant they failed to create as many chances as they should have. As the game went on, though, they managed to right the wrongs to claim all three points.

Chennai’s youth player Prasanth Karuthadathkuni conceded a penalty after handing the ball inside the penalty area on 27 minutes, and substitute Anderson Raimundo da Silva converted with much ease, after pushing skipper Densill Theobald off the ball to take the spot-kick.

Chennai swiftly responded – two minutes later – as Dhanpal Ganesh scored Chennai’s first Indian I-League goal, rising above everyone to guide Edwin Sydney Vanspaul’s corner past Laxmikant Kattimani. Anderson seemed to have restored Mumbai’s lead after a defensive gaffe from Anyichie Echezona Celestine minutes later, but a controversial offside call meant neither team was in firm control heading into the second half despite flashes of brilliance.

Neither side managed to test either goalkeeper although Chennai managed more shots than the visitors. The Mumbaikars brought on Siam Hanghal and I-League legend Steven Dias in search of a winner, sacrificing Nikhil Kadam and Karan Sawhney, but Chennai eventually came out on top, with Charles scoring the lead. The Brazilian rounded the Mumbai goalkeeper to put the ball into the net from three yards out.

As promised, Soundararajan brought on Raegan Albarnas in search of the third goal, at Regin’s expense. However, Chennai’s attack hardly required a boost, with their defensive players seemingly in need of support. With Mumbai building attacking with more intensity, Chennai’s Ganesh was forced to lunge into a double-footed tackle on Chennaiyin teammate Hanghal, earning a yellow card as a result.

Mumbai continued to push for the equalizer, but resilient defending from Echezona and skipper Dharmaraj Ravanan ensured Chennai secured their second consecutive

Published: Sat Feb 11, 2017 09:53 PM IST

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