It was the perfect opportunity for Northeast United FC (NEUFC) to bring the Mumbai City FC juggernaut to an abrupt halt with a win. But they failed to make an impact as Nicolas Anelka’s team thumped them convincingly.
Both the teams were on a high as their strikers were finding form gradually. However, only one could make the most of the upward momentum.
Sunil Chhetri scored three to go level on the top scorers list
It was deemed to be the night of redemption for NEUFC coach Cesar Farias as both Nico Velez and marquee man Simao Sabrosa started. But the spotlight was snatched away by the costliest domestic player of the season, Sunil Chhetri.
In the 24th minute the hitman silenced the away crowd with a brilliantly taken panenka penalty. It was 1-0 to Mumbai City. With that, it was 4 goals in as many games for Chhetri. Sixteen minutes later the Indian skipper registered his second goal after a fine cross from Sony Norde found him to bulge the net.
Just after the half-time, another lucky break saw a handball and consequently Sunil converted the spot kick to complete his hat-trick. The away team custodian Rehenesh guessed it right but the power of the shot was blasted the net behind.
Northeast United had some chances but failed to get a grip.
As has been the tale with the Highlanders, it was a similar episode for them. They had their moments of brilliance but nothing materialized.
It was the free kick by Boithang Haokip from which Northeast equalized after Mumbai City took an early lead. But after that it was hard for Farias’ side as Anelka’s men cruised home. With Velez and Sanju, there was some threat to defend for Mumbai. Nothing seemed to bother the astute back four as Sony Norde and Bertin completed the rout with a goal each.
Mumbai City FC now sit pretty at second place after three wins
An extraordinary run for the west coast team saw them catch up with their fellow Maharashtrian team FC Pune City. The ease with which Mumbai eliminated their opponents should be a cause of concern for the rest of the teams. Scoring 5 goals, they now have the best goal difference with a score of +4.
If the remarkable run continues, it will be tough for the defending champions Atletico de Kolkata. Mumbai City FC will be facing the Kolkata side, seeking to fortify their position with another win.
Picture Courtesy: Indian Super League