Defending champion Chennaiyin FC finally tasted victory this season with a convincing 4-2 victory against FC Pune City in its Indian Super League clash at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on Tuesday.
Ashique Kuruniyan's early goal in the ninth minute gave Pune the lead but a strong second half from Chennaiyin meant John Gregory's men were back to winning ways.
Mailson Alves equalised with a header in the 53rd minute and Gregory Nelson completed the comeback two minutes later. Inigo Calderon and Thoi Singh helped the visitor increase its lead and Jonathan Vila's late goal was nothing more than a consolation.
An audacious cross-field diagonal ball by Robin Singh allowed Kuruniyan to race past Inigo Calderon on the left flank and put the ball between Karanjit Singh's legs from a tight angle.
John Gregory's men had more share of the ball but struggled to create good chances with it. But Chennaiyin came out of the blocks quickly after the restart and scored the equaliser in the 53rd minute. Martin Diaz fouled Anirudh Thapa outside the box and the young midfielder picked out Mailson Alves at the far post from the resulting free-kick. The skipper's looping header hit the back of the net, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.
The match turned on its head as Chennaiyin took the lead two minutes later through Gregory Nelson. Mailson’s long ball found Nelson on the right flank who ran in behind Lalchhuanmawia Fanai before chipping the ball over an onrushing Kamaljit Singh.
Chennaiyin doubled its lead in the 69th minute as Pune's defence failed to tackle the delivery from a corner and Raphael Augusto managed to push the ball into the path of Calderon who tapped the ball into the net.
The fourth goal came only three minutes later as Thoi Singh tucked in the rebound off Jeje's shot which was kept out by the goalkeeper.
Pune grabbed a consolation goal in the 90th minute when Jonathan Vila rose the highest at the near post to head in Marcelinho's well-taken corner kick.
Marcelinho, however, jumped into a dangerous tackle to steal the ball off Germanpreet Singh with just seconds left on the clock and the forward was punished with a straight red card. That's two strikers under suspension as Diego Carlos de Oliveira also remains suspended for his red card against FC Goa and interim coach Pradyum Reddy’s woes double.
Pune is now at the bottom of the league with just two points from six matches while Chennaiyin moved up to eighth.