I-League: Spanish duo helps Chennai City edge Aizawl in goal-fest

Sandro Rodriguez and Pedro Manzi bagged a brace each in Chennai City's 4-3 win.

Chennai City FC players celebrate with the fans at the Nehru Stadium. (file photo)   -  I-League

Spaniards Sandro Rodriguez and Pedro Manzi struck a double each as Chennai City FC scored a 4-3 win over Aizawl FC in the I-League clash at the Nehru Stadium here on Friday.

It wasn’t easy at the start for the host. It had to dig deep to unsettle the visitor, which showed great fighting spirit. Aizawl was not carried away by the quality and weight of the home team.

The first half saw both teams struggling to create chances but Chennai City quickly settled into the groove and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. Aizawl replied in a similar manner when Zikhai Dodoz broke free in the 27th minute and had just Garcia Santana, the Chennai custodian, to beat. But the striker from Cote d’ivoire hammered it wide. It was a golden chance that went down the drain.

Even as Aizawl was cursing its luck, Chennai City replied emphatically through Sandro. The midfielder from Spain cashed in on a well-directed feed from Pravitto Raju to put the team on top.

Aizawl responded nine minutes later with Albert connecting a Jaryan pass into the net much to the joy of the team. It was obviously pleased with its first-half effort.

The second session saw Chennai City in an attacking mood. The team has always fared well during this period in most of its matches. Manzi and Nestor Jesus, the Spanish duo, who were quiet in the first half, got into the thick of things. They kept harassing the Aizawl defence and it paid off in the 60th minute.

Manzi, the league’s top-scorer, came up with a stunning shot from a 40-yard range for which the Aizawl custodian had no answer. Sandro put the team further ahead converting a beauty of a direct free-kick in the 69th minute.

Chennai City made the night even more memorable with Manzi scoring another. This time around, it was Nestor’s magical pass that saw the striker finding the back of the net. Just when it looked all over, Aizawl scored surprisingly twice in the space of two minutes. But before any further damage could be done came the final whistle.

The results

Chennai City FC 4 (Sandro Rodrigues 29 & 69, Pedro Manzi 60 & 80) bt Aizawl 3 (Albert 38, Vanlalruatfela 91, Lalkhawpuimawia 93)

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