ISL 2018: Chennaiyin FC slumps to third loss at home, beaten 1-0 by Mumbai City FC

Defending champion Chennaiyin FC's dismal start to the season continued as it slumped to a 1-0 loss to Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League on Saturday.

Mumbai City FC's Moudou Sougou celebrates after scoring against Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League on Saturday.   -  ISL/Sportszpics

Mumbai City FC's patient approach to the game, aided by Chennaiyin FC failure to convert its chances, helped the team secure three points during their Indian Super League clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.

Modou Sougou's goal in the first half condemned the defending champion to its fifth defeat of the season and left it at the bottom of the table. Mumbai City, on the other hand, finally put together two wins on the trot to move to the fifth spot.

RELATED| ISL 2018 Highlights: Chennaiyin FC vs Mumbai City FC

Chennaiyin FC started on the front foot, stringing together good passes and dominating possession – and the chances – in the opening 15 minutes, with Thoi Singh down the right wing and Raphael Augusto in midfield controlling the pace of the game.

 

Carlos Salom, starting instead of Jeje Lalpekhlua once again, did well to bring down two good crosses in the opening minutes. While the final ball let him down the first time, he managed to get a shot – which sailed wide of the goal – the second time. 

Mumbai City took the lead against the run of play in the 20th minute. Defending a Chennaiyin counter attack, the visitor snatched possession and launched a counter of its own. Rafael Bastos found Modou Sougou on the edge of the Chennaiyin box before he got hauled down. With the referee playing advantage, Sougou saw his left footed strike saved by Karanjit Singh. The rebound kindly fell to the Mumbai striker and he reacted quicker than the home team's defenders to cushion the ball into the right corner with the other foot to give his team the lead.

Mumbai City FC players celebrate their win against Chennaiyin FC on Saturday.   -  ISL MEDIA

 

Chennaiyin FC assistant coach Sabir Pasha, in the pre-match press conference, had labelled his side's "lack of concentration" as a reason for his team's struggles this season and this was on display on Saturday. It was the fourth time Chennaiyin had conceded the opening goal in six games.

The goal took some wind out of Chennaiyin's sails, with the pace of the game considerably slowing down. Mumbai City grew in confidence while Chennaiyin, eager to find an equaliser, lacked cohesion in its play.

For all its dominance – with possession and chances – in the opening 45 minutes, Mumbai capitalised on the one good chance that fell its way to take a one-goal lead into half time.

The second half started the same way the first ended, with Chennaiyin seeing a majority of the ball but failing to do much with it. The Islanders were content on letting the home team keep possession and stuck to counter attacks.

Chennaiyin FC's Raphael Augusto in action against Mumbai City FC on Saturday.

 

Four minutes after the restart, Thoi found himself free in the Mumbai box but failed to connect a floated cross that came his way. Two minutes later, Milan Singh conceded a freekick at the edge of the box but Carlos Salom's effort sailed comfortably over the goal.

In search of an equaliser, Chennaiyin coach Jonhn Gregory threw in Gregory Nelson and Germanpreet Singh with 30 minutes of play left. And Chennaiyin came close to leveling the score right after.

Augusto turned his marker and put in a low cross to Salom, whose shot bounced off the post and rebounded to Thoi but his shot was blocked by Amrinder Singh.

The final substitution for Chennaiyin saw the introduction of Jeje. The 27-year-old has scored 77 per cent of his goals in the ISL at home but he couldn't work his way around a resilient Mumbai defence as Gregory's side crashed to a third defeat at home.