Match-day 9 of the Hero Indian Super League saw Chennaiyin FC vs Kerala Blasters and it was Abhishek Bachchan’s Chennaiyin team that beat Sachin Tendulkar’s Kerala by 2-1 in the South Indian Derby. With this victory, Chennaiyin took their points tally to six points from two games while Kerala Blasters did almost everything right but are still pointless after losing both of their matches.
Quick paced Chennaiyin
Chennaiyin FC stepped into their home turf, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai to a loud round of applause from the home crowd. High on confidence after beating Goa FC in an away draw, Chennaiyin looked to bully their opponent right from the first minute. The very first minute had Balwant Singh diving to meet a cross from Abhishek Das. The team continued to push forward with long balls being played constantly by the defenders towards the flanks. The Chennai team broke through early when Abhishek Das won a penalty as Gurwinder Singh lunged in with an unneccessary tackle.
Emerging player of the match: A fine display by Balwant Singh
Balwant Singh failed to get on the scoresheet in this match but his movements on and off the ball kept the opposition defenders under constant pressure. Though his headed effort went wide of the post, he created several chances and was responsible for the assist on the winning goal by Mendy. With his hold-up play and speed, the 27 year old Indian striker has cemented his place in the Chennaiyin FC team for the next few games to come. Chennaiyin will hope that he will maintain his form throughout the tournament and avoid injuries.
Kerala dominate possession
For those who watched Kerala’s previous match against NorthEast United FC, this looked like a recap in terms of the way that Kerala dominated the game for most of the time. In both of the matches Kerala enjoyed 57% of the ball possession and took more shots on goals with a similar end result. Whilst against Goa, Keral took 17 shots, against Chennaiyin FC, Kerala took an even more whopping 21 shots compared with the home team’s 8 shots. However, only 9 of these 21 shots were on target and perhaps if Kerala Blasters would have shown more accuracy, the outcome of both of the games would’ve been much different.
Iain Hume finds the netting
Having not scored against Goa FC in the first fixture was disappointing for Iain Hume who had orchestrated almost every attacking move on the night for Kerala. He finally found the netting against Chennaiyin FC in the 50th minute when Nirmal Chettri headed a corner down in his own box and Hume took advantage of the loose ball. That poacher’s goal put his team back on level terms with the hosts and gave them hopes of winning.
Five star Medley by Mendy
With the teams locked at 1-1 and the attackers being unable to find a goal to put either of the teams ahead, the Chennaiyin FC defender Bernard Mendy took it upon himself to break the deadlock, and Oh My Word, he did it in spectacular fashion.
Elano guided the ball towards the 18yrd box on a freekick won in the 61st minute. The shot was headed backwards by Balwant Singh and Kerala goalkeeper David James came rushing forward to catch the ball but was caught in no man’s land. Before James could move forward to parry the ball, Mendy rushed and acrobatically jumped up in the air, hitting a perfect overhead scissor flick. David James was reduced to a mere spectator. Undoubtedly, the best goal of the tournament so far.
Bad blood between South Indian rivals
The first fifteen minutes of the match saw a Yellow card and Penalty being conceded by the Kerala Defender Gurwinder Singh. Gurwinder was very fortunate to have not been given a second yellow for his tackle on Abhishek Das inside the penalty area.
After the penalty the defenders looked to be a little more in control but it didn’t last for long. S. Mendoza and Mehtab Hossain picked up yellow cards in the 39th and 44th minute respectively.
Mehtab too avoided a second yellow for his tackle on Elano but the price his team paid was far heavier. The subsequent freekick set up Bernard Mendy for his stunner of a goal.
With this win Chennai moved to the top end of the table , whereas Kerala was left languishing at the bottom of the table. The Kerala team is better than that and it is only a matter of time that luck will swing their way