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ISL semi-final: Chennaiyin FC thrash Kolkata 3-0 to win first-leg clash

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 1:05 IST

A clinical performance from Chennaiyin FC saw them thrash defending champions Atletico de Kolkata 3-0 in the first leg semi-final of the Indian Super League in Pune on 12 December.

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For the winners, Bruno Pelissari (39th minute), India international Jeje Lalpekhlua (57th minute) and goal-machine Stiven Mendoza (68th minute) were on target as Atletico de Kolkata's defenders had a forgettable day in office.

The comprehensive victory by Chennaiyin means that Sourav Ganguly co-owned outfit will have win by a clear four-goal margin to enter the title round. Least they could do is to atleast win by three clear goals to take the match into the tie-breaker.

In fact, Chennaiyin FC almost did the improbable last season, when they came back after a 0-3 first leg defeat to take a 3-0 lead against Kerala Blasters only to concede a last-minute goal.

On the day, playing their 'home match' away from Chennai (rescheduling due to recent floods), Marco Materazzi's boys were flawless on the pitch controlling the proceedings from the start.

It also helped that Atletico de Kolkata's India internationals -- right back Rino Anto and centre back Arnab Mondal made things easier for the opposition showing distinct lack of communication. Everytime, they left their guards, Mendoza along with Jeje threatened to score.

The goal-scorers

Chennaiyin's opening goal was scored in the 39th minute when Bruno Pellisari struck from around 30 yards with a direct free-kick. It was a booming right footer, that evaded a two-man wall and swerved enough to beat an outstretched Atletico de Kolkata goalie Amrinder Singh as winners went into break leading 1-0.

The change of ends saw Chennaiyin step up their game a notch further.

In the 57th minute, an error of judgment from Atletico de Kolkata's back-four cost them dearly. Mendoza was freed on the wide left as he beat his marker Anto with sheer pace and then also beat a surging Amrinder. Knowing that scoring from the angle will be difficult, Mendoza released a pull-back for Jeje, who slotted with an assured angled right-footer.

In the 68th minute, it was Jeje's turn to return the favour for Mendoza as they played a quick one-two before the latter placed it past Amrinder to score his 12th goal in the tournament. He is now two goals clear of Iain Hume and looks hot favourite for the 'Golden Boot' award.

Five-game winning streak

Chennaiyin FC are also the first team in the two editions of ISL, who have won five straight matches. This one was even more special as their talismanic Brazilian Elano Blummer was not playing the game.

First published: 13 December 2015, 4:38 IST