Mumbai: Atletico de Kolkata ended their three-match losing streak with a 4-1 win over Mumbai City at the DY Patil stadium, with Iain Hume scoring a hat-trick and centre-back Augustine Fernandes scoring an unlikely goal.
Mumbai City made three substitutions at half-time in a radical but valiant attempt to fight back from two goals down at the break. The ploy almost worked as Selim Benachour, one of the three players who came in, struck in 71st minute to pull one back for Mumbai City who were knocking on the door since the start of the second period.
The adrenaline rush that came with that goal lasted for only five minutes, with Fernandes playing a neat one-two with Sameehg Doutie before executing a tidy finish to give his side the all-important two-goal cushion with only a quarter of an hour left to play.
Earlier, Hume had given Kolkata the lead in the 34th minute with a stunning volley from Jaime Gavilan's splendid lobbed through ball before converting a penalty at the stroke of half-time to make it 2-0. Gavilan, who was brought down by Subhash Singham's clumsy challenge, was at the heart of most of Kolkata's moves as they created more openings in the first half compared to a lacklustre Mumbai.
The Spaniard and Canadian combined again early in the second half, but Hume went for a pass in the box when he could have blasted it into the net. He went for a piledriver from another Gavilan lob which crashed off the crossbar and went out
It was end-to-end stuff in the second half with Anelka opting to play a more adventurous brand of football, and Atletico were content to sit back and hit on the counter, a strategy which eventually worked for them.
Doutie created another opening for Hume in the box and this time he went for precision to make it 4-1 as the team rushed towards the technical area in a celebration which showed how much this win meant for the defending champions.
As for Mumbai City's hero Sunil Chhetri, his first 90 minute partnership with Anelka was one to forget -- despite the two creating quite a few openings for Mumbai, nothing seemed to go in.
India's top-scorer took a snapshot which rebounded to Benachour to make it 2-1, but he also missed a header immediately after Fernandes had scored -- at a crucial juncture which could have taken the game another way.
Atletico's goalkeeper Amrinder Singh also deserves credit for the result, with a fine reaction save from close range off Frederic Piquionne's rasping shot. It was a brilliant recovery for him after an early clash with Anelka had left him dazed.
Anelka, Piquionne and Chhetri all had chances in the second half to comfortably win the game -- the player/manager particularly guilty of scuffing a couple of chances wide after getting into impressive positions.
In the end, Mumbai City were not as bad as the 4-1 scoreline suggests, but the team which took their chances won the points. Mumbai's run of home games comes to an end for the time being, and they better pack their shooting boots with five of their remaining seven matches coming on the road.
Updated Date: Nov 02, 2015 09:39:25 IST