Chennai City FC’s fairy tale run continues as they garner another comprehensive win over a resolute NEROCA side and now sitting at the top of the pack with a remarkable 8 point gap from the second place holders. Akbar Nawas’ team showed their nerves of steel in their consistent performance and took away all the points against the Manipuri side in comfortable manner.
● NESTOR’S PIVOTAL ROLE:
The game started with Chennai City’s dominance. Their dominance is due to two Spaniards Nestor and Sandro Rodriguez, of them Nestor was exceptional, teasing the Neroca fc’s defenders by his way of play making attacking runs in opposition box often providing good balls to his attacking half. In 26th minute he missed a sitter as his shot agonizingly went wide of the post. But he stood tall in the midfield region of the pitch and his long balls were pin point and accurate in the first half. In 52nd minute he scored a cheeky goal by a chipping assist provided by Edwin Vanspaul. Later in the second half his performance was not up to the mark as he missed to deliver and was struggling in the later stages. Due to his exceptional first half performance he was adjudged the hero of the match award and deservedly so.
● UNSUNG HERO ROBERTO ESLAVA:
The versatile defender scored in the 4th minute of the match giving his side a positive start. He just poked the ball into the back of the net through the legs of Mauro Boerchio, the Italian goalkeeper of Neroca. After scoring his goal the defender showed his class in defending by taking out the attackers of Neroca single footedly by his good tackles. He and Gaurav Bora stood strong in the back and was alert of the danger caused by Neroca attackers. Through his performance he proved his class again as he took the responsibility in the absence of Pedro Manzi and played his role perfectly standing upto the occasion.
● NEROCA’S FIGHT BACK:
After conceding the early goal last season’s runners-up were in deep trouble. They were allowing Romario Jesuraj and Nestor Jesus Gordilo of Chennai City to move freely in their half which was causing peril. The first half was dominated by Chennai City and it finished in the favour of the hosts. But the second half was completely different from the first half. Neroca players started to question the Chennai City defenders. Chidi became a constant threat to Chennai along with Subhash Singham Singh. Their reward came in the 64th minute when the Shubash Singham Singh’s right footed finish inside the box sent the ball to top right corner of Chennai’s goal thus cutting the deficit. Katsumi Yusa was introduced in 63rd minute and his effect was soon realized by Chennai City players as his runs and balls were inch perfect and started to have control over the Coimbatore based club. Although Manuel Fraile’s side ultimately had to return empty-handed but they can churn out some positives from their fight in the second half.
● POOR REFEERING:
Both Neroca and Chennai City FC players as well as the coaches were unhappy with the referees as numerous decisions went against both the teams. In the post-match press conference Neroca’s Coach Manuel Retamero Fraile slammed the refereeing standard. “The decisions have gone against us today due to poor refereeing decisions. I came here to India 3 years back I see the same refereeing blunders season and season and its repeating back to till date, I haven’t seen any improvement in refereeing to this day.”
“If it stays like this then no improvement can be seen in Indian football. If this situation remains even I can do the referee job for free”, he added
● HIGH PRESSURE GAME:
The game started with Chennai City’s dominance and also ended in same way in the first half. Neroca players were clearly struggling to handle red hot Chennai. In the second half the game started to oscillate in the either direction with Neroca players starting to push high on the pitch after conceding the second goal. After Yusa’s introduction the team got more intense and was attacking to their full potential With the aid of Gaurav Bora and Eslava, Chennai held Neroca‘s attackers. Khabir made a mistake taking the ball (back pass) in the hand giving indirect free kick which was somehow cleared off the post in a bizarre manner. The pressure was felt by Akbar Nawas’ men as soon as Singham Singh scored. Neroca introduced more pressure in Khabir’s box and proved their standard in the second half as their coach was also very happy with their performance which he hinted in the post-match press conference. But ultimately the game finished in favour of Chennai City who have stretched their lead at the top of the I-League ladder to eight points and already looking like champions!