Round 15 of Hero Indian Super League kicked-off at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Chennai, featuring home team Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC. Chennaiyin coach cum marquee player Marco Materazzi played his debut game in the Hero Indian Super League. Nicolas Anelka too featured in the Mumbai City FC colours for the first time in the tournament after serving a 3 match ban. Chennaiyin started their proceedings in a different formation from what we have seen in the earlier games. They appeared in a 4-1-3-2 formation with Materazzi playing the defensive midfield role. Colombian forward John Stiven Mendoza was accompanied by energetic Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua. Ace Indian player Syed Rahim Nabi came back from injury to start for Mumbai City FC.

Mumbai dominated the game play but was not effective in front of the goal. Chennai on the other hand took a counter attacking strategy from the very first minute. In the 7th minute mark Mendoza went passed Raju Gaikwad on the left and entered the penalty box where he was fouled badly by Manuel Friedrich. Elano scored from the spot. The second goal came from the feet of Jeje Lalpekhlua who converted a brilliant finish from Elano’s long ball assist. Mumbai kept on attacking after the two goals but Chennaiyin’s defenders where instrumental in stopping their attacks. In the 41st Elano won a free-kick almost 30 yards away from the goal. He took a swerving free-kick which was fumbled by Subrata Pal. An opportunistic Mendoza came forward and tapped in the third goal for Chennaiyin FC. Couple of minute’s later Mendoza struck again from Khabra’s long ball assist. Mumbai defence was guilty of playing higher up which made Chennaiyin’s job easy to play counter attacking.

Chennaiyin started the second half high on confidence after their 4 goals lead from the first half. The never showed their urgency to attack. Mumbai kept on pressing but never succeeded in breaking the Chennaiyin FC defence. In the 70th minute mark, John Mendoza won a free-kick which was eventually converted by Elano. The Brazilian midfielder netted his 5th goal from 4 appearances in Chennai colours. All his goals came from dead ball situation. Mendoza and Jeje came very close to score on two or three occasions but failed. Mumbai scored one back in the 87th minute. Nabi headed the ball in from Moritz’s corner.

Chennaiyin FC moved up the table to second position, while Mumbai struggled in the sixth position with a very poor goal difference. Nicolas Anelka and the other Mumbai attackers need to find their scoring boots as soon as possible to keep Mumbai in the hunt for a top four position. Chennaiyin’s Elano on other hand is proving to be unstoppable with his mesmerizing free-kicks and his work rate on field.