ISL 2018-19: Mumbai City sink Chennaiyin to climb to the second spot

 A goal in each half at the Mumbai Football Arena settled the Indian Super League (ISL) match between Mumbai City and Chennaiyin in favour of the hosts. 

Raynier Fernandes (27') and Modou Sougou (55') netted goals to sink Chennaiyin deeper into the abyss as the visitor's poor title defence took another hit. 

Jorge Costa made just one change to Mumbai's starting line-up as local lad Raynier Fernandes returned at the expense of Milan Singh with the side looking to extend their unbeaten run to six matches - the longest in history. 

John Gregory, on the other hand, shuffled his cards to snap the three-match winless run as Salom, Anirudh Thapa and Tondonba slotted in for Jeje, Andrea Orlandi and Jerry Lalrinzuala. 

Chennai looked to be the side more comfortable on the ball in the initial few minutes but the first half-chance fell to the hosts when Sougou received a misplaced pass from Anirudh to release Bastos into the box, whose scuffed effort limped off to Sanjiban.

A few minutes later, Chennai had a very similar chance with Goian being the guilty party, but Salom's left-footer was way off target.

Mumbai City Chennaiyin ISL

Just when it was looking like the game is getting a bit drab, the hosts broke the deadlock with elan. An attack quickly knit together saw Bastos cut inside from the wing and pass the ball to Raynier just outside the D-box. With Eli Sabia nowhere near the player to close him down, the midfielder took a grounder, which hit the back of the net past the outstretched Sanjiban.

On the half-hour mark, Augusto decided to take things into this own hand and ran for a good few yards to send the ball into the goalmouth from the right, but Amrinder pulled off a brilliant save to thwart Salom's week effort from eight yards out.

Only five minutes away from the break, Chennaiyin teammates Isaac and Salom got involved in a heated argument. The former Lajong footballer, most probably unintentionally, was reluctant to stop play when Augusto was down injured and that didn't go too well with the Palestinian forward. 

During the added minutes, the hosts embarked on a dangerous counter and Augusto's mishit clearance fell dearly onto the path of Sougou, who had acres of free greenery in front of him, but could only hit the crossbar to waste the easiest chance of the half as Mumbai had to be content with a slender one-goal cushion after creating the best chances. 

The first clear chance of the second half was created by the travellers as Isaac floated in a teasing delivery into the far post for Augusto, but it was a bit too heavy for him as the resultant header floated above the bar.

Mumbai City Chennaiyin ISL

On the 55th minute, Mumbai doubled their lead. Rafael Bastos ran unhindered for almost 15 yards to the right of the box to cross it inside for Sougou. However, it was deflected off Sabia and all Sougou had to do was to head it into an open target from a hand-shaking distance.

In the next 10 minutes, waves of Chennaiyin attacks hit the Mumbai back-line but failed to yield any result, with Isaac playing the role of chief creator. 

On the 76th minute, Orlandi pulled the trigger from the edge of the box, but Amrinder was alert enough to dive to his left and keep out the grounded shot.

 Chennaiyin almost smelt blood in the dying minutes of the match when Orlandi's left-footer from 20 yards came off the crossbar after being fisted away by Amrinder. Thoi Singh was lurking close to dispatch it home but was correctly ruled offside. 

Chennaiyin will now host fellow strugglers Delhi Dynamos while Mumbai will have to overcome the stern challenge posed by leaders Bengaluru FC.