Chennaiyin FC fought valiantly before going down 3-5 to Mumbai City FC in a pulsating Durand Cup quarter-final at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.
While Scottish player Greg Stewart (40', 100' 118') got a hat-trick, former Chennaiyin player Lallianzuala Chhangte (78', 94') scored a brace for Mumbai City. Chennaiyin’s goals were scored by Petar Sliskovic (59'), Jockson Dhas (89') and Rahim Ali (112').
Mumbai City dominated the first half, enjoying the lion's share of possession. Chennaiyin defended well but an error saw them go into half-time 0-1 down.
Mumbai City were awarded a penalty when 'keeper Debjit Majumder tripped Amey Ranawade inside the box. Stewart stepped up and scored with his left foot which Majumder could not stop despite guessing right, diving to his left and getting his fingertips on the goal-bound ball.
Down 0-1 in the first half, Chennaiyin roared back into the game when Sliskovic’s powerful header from a Ninthoi Meetei cross restored parity.
Chennaiyin kept piling the pressure on the Mumbai City goal, with Sliskovic taking the lead role. In the 73rd minute, Sliskovic sneaked into the box following a through ball but the rival goalkeeper dashed out to steal the ball from his feet. Even as Sliskovic took a tumble and appealed for a penalty, the referee did not give in.
But just when it seemed like Chennaiyin had a grip on the game, Mumbai City got their second. Stewart released Bipin Singh inside the box, who took a shot from the left. Debjit got a hand to it, but the ball fell to Chhangte who was there at the right place to push it in.
Chennaiyin, however, would not go down without a fight, stealing another equaliser in the 89th minute. Mourtada Fall failed to clear Ninthoi's cross from the right properly and Jockson chested it down before unleashing a powerful volley to make it 2-2.
The game went into extra time and Mumbai City took the lead within the first five minutes with Chhangte getting a free header after Fall had volleyed it back towards the goal following a free-kick.
Mumbai City made it even tougher when Stewart found the goal with a grounded shot towards the far post following a solo effort.
The goals kept coming, with Chennaiyin making it 3-4 when Rahim Ali's powerful shot found the net following a corner.
But Mumbai City sealed the match when Stewart, released by Chhangte, slotted it calmly past Majumder, to complete his hat-trick.
The final result could have been different had Chennaiyin had a bit more luck in extra time, with shots from both Rahim and Jockson hitting the woodwork.
Artsmith Media Release