I-League: Manzi, Romario star in Chennai City FC's win

Pedro Manzi and Alexander Romario's second half goals gave Chennai City FC a 2-1 win over East Bengal and a five-point advantage at the top of the I-League table.

Alexander Romario (11) scored the winning goal for Chennai City FC.   -  J. Manoharan

Chennai City FC edged out a fighting East Bengal FC 2-1 for the second time this season in the Hero I-League clash at the Nehru Stadium here on Monday.

The Chennai City men were in for a rude shock quite early in the game. Though they started in flying fashion, it was the visiting side which drew first blood in the ninth minute.

Lalrindika Ralte’s corner kick from the right found Borja Gomez of Spain, who was quick to head the same from the far post. It was here that Laldanmawia Ralte sneaked in on time to pack a header home.

Kamaraj raised some hopes for the host with some brilliant passes to the hard-working Spaniards Pedro Manzi and Nestor Jesus, who went flat out for the equaliser but it never came their way. EB knew the duo can be dangerous on their day and quickly tightened the defence. It went for the counter only when it wanted and went back to the dressing room satisfied having taken a 1-0 lead at half-time.

The second half, however, belonged to the home side. It’s men kept pumping hard from the start and that resulted in a goal in the 48th minute. Skipper Manzi turned out to be the saviour once again for the team.

Defender Edwin Vanspaul's raging right footer was deflected neatly by Manzi, the team’s top scorer. And that forced the visitor to stretch that extra length in search of a win that can well keep its title chances alive. At times East Bengal played a bit rough, too, which resulted in arguments and stoppage of play for a few minutes.

To add fuel to fire, Chennai City took the lead for the first time in the match through Alexander Romario, who quite intelligently put it past the Bengal custodian in the 70th minute. The team hung on from there to emerge victorious.

Romario quite deservedly took home the player of the match award.

The results

Chennai City FC 2 (Pedro Manzi 48, Alexander Romario 70) bt East Bengal 1 (Laldanmawia Ralte 9)

 

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