Mohun Bagan Super Giant thrashes Chennaiyin 3-1 to complete a hat-trick of wins in ISL 2023-24
Mohun Bagan Super Giant prevailed with a thumping triumph over Chennaiyin at Chennai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to retain their table-toppers crown in Matchday 3 of the 2023-24 Indian Super League on Saturday.
Two first-half goals from the foreign striking duo Dimitri Petratos and Jason Cummings brought the Mariners to a commanding position in the game. The Machans took one goal back with a stunning free-kick from Rafael Crivellaro but Manvir Singh’s goal in the very next minute restored the two-goal lead and eventually sealed three points for the visitors.
As a consequence of their miserable suffering against NorthEast United, the Chennaiyin gaffer Owen Coyle made a couple of changes in his lineup. Rahim Ali barged into the starting XI in place of Rafael Crivellaro at front while Alexander Romario Jesuraj was replaced by Ryan Edwards who also wore the captain’s armband.
Meanwhile, MBSG also made one change in their lineup from the win against Punjab. Brendan Hamill managed to earn a preference from the Spaniard Juan Ferrando in the backline ahead of his fellow teammate Hector Yuste.
The visitors turned up in away colors while the Marine Machans donned their iconic Blue outfits for the first time this season. Petratos took the first kick and launched an early move to start off the clash on a pacy note.
The Marina Machans also responded firmly to early attacks when Nitnthoi Meetei’s penetrating run in the 5th minute created a chance for the home side but the youngster failed to keep the maiden shot on target.
Chennaiyin’s high backline helped them to prevent the Green and Maroon invaders from barging into the box and also making quick transitions to set out for counter-attacking moves. One such counter-attack was staged by the home side in the 13th minute when Connor Shields received an amazing through-ball from Ninthoinganba but a tenuous angle and pressure from the opposition defender Anwar Ali kept him away from the scoresheet.
As the game commenced in such an aggressive style by both combatants, it didn’t take much longer for the Marina Arena crowd to witness the first goal of the night. It was Sahal Abdul Samad who switched the flank to be on the right wing and successfully knitted the move to enjoy a breakthrough in the 22nd minute. Sahal’s aerial cross aimed at Petratos who was surrounded by the two Chennaiyin defenders but still went on to finish it with a perfect-headed attempt to earn the deserving lead for the visitors.
Despite having the early lead, the Mariners kept their forward run going in search of another goal to capitalize on the domination they displayed throughout the first half. The Kolkata-based outfit finished off the first-half saga in style by doubling their lead before heading back into the tunnel. Once again it was playmaker Samad who entered the box to create a goal-scoring chance which got a clinical finish from the Aussie striker Jason Cummings to make it 2-0 right before the half-time break.
With clear intentions of staging a turnaround in the second half, Owen Coyle named a whopping three changes in his lineup, subbing on the likes of Rafael Crivellaro, Jiteshwor Singh and Ankit Mukherjee. Machans also kick-started the latter half action aggressively with a refreshing breeze to seek early momentum.
Chenniayin’s diligent and constant offensive efforts finally paid off when the Manipuri midfielder Jiteshwor was fouled by Samad at the edge of the box. It was none other than the Brazilian magician Rafael Crivellaro who stepped up for the Chennai Blues in the 55th minute and converted the free-kick into an absolutely stunning goal. The MBSG guardian Vishal Kaith seemed helpless against a curving left-footed strike by the 34-year-old attacking midfielder to score Chennaiyin’s first goal of the 2023-24 ISL campaign.
Just when the home crowd erupted in celebrations and hopes of a comeback, it took only a few seconds for the visiting side to brush it off with another successful attack. Organizing a perfect counter-attack, Sahal drove the ball into the 18-yard box to set things up for another breakthrough and went on to bag his second assist of the night.
Manvir received the ball from Samad near the right post to shoot it from a narrow window and netted his second goal of the season. Coyle was furious over the act of his defense conceding the third goal of the night as his distress was quite evident.
Former Machan skipper Anirudh Thapa came very close to scoring against his former beloved club in the 85th minute but his charge was swiftly daunted by the guard of Samik Mitra. The rest of the play could not witness any goal-scoring attempt succeeded as the game ended with the referee Ashwin’s full-time whistle on a final scoreline of 3-1 in the favor of the visitors.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant showcased sheer dominance with a ball possession of 57% and accumulating 80% passing accuracy. On the other hand, the Machans had a forgettable first home fixture where they managed to register only a single shot on target throughout the 90 minutes of play.
Chennaiyin needs to regroup and toil hard during the 13-day break before coming back to action for an away fixture against Hyderabad on the 23rd of October. Meanwhile, the Mariners will now be directly seen battling with Bangladeshi outfit Bashundhara Kings in the group stage of the 2023-24 AFC Cup.