Bhubhaneswar: A 10-man down newly crowned champions of the I-league Chennai City FC rode on a brilliant hattrick by Pedro Manzi to knock FC Pune City out of the Super Cup in a pre-quarter final fixture played at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.
Both the sides came into this contest on the back of some good late form recently and as it was expected, both the sides had a chance each within the first three minutes but neither could make the most of it. The Stallions midfield comprising of Adil Khan and Marko Stankovic held control in attack and defense, giving hardly any space to the likes of Pedro Javier Manzi and Néstor Gordillo to work with.
FC Pune City had two glorious chances in the space of ten minutes around the midway point of the first half. Adil released Marcelo Pereira on the left, who in turn picked out Iain Hume free inside the box. The Canadian striker headed his ball on target, but Chennai custodian Mauro Boerchio pulled out a sensational save to keep the match goalless.
Hume then, turned provider for Marcelo, for the second of those chances, but the Brazilian lobbed his shot over the onrushing Boerchio. The Chennai attack had been quiet until then, but somehow managed to break through the reasonably sound Stallions rearguard to open the scoring.
Néstor exchanged some neat passes on Hero I-League champions’ left-hand side and ran at will towards the backtracking Pune defense before picking out Ameerudeen Mohaideeen on the right. The forward squared the ball leaving Manzi to do the rest.
His and Chennai’s second came shortly afterwards as Néstor turned on a second ball and immediately released the no.19, who turned Matt Mills inside-out before slotting the ball past a helpless Kamaljit Singh. The Stallions looked to be stunned by then but were back in the tie five minutes later.
Chennai defender, Gaurav Bora was caught on the ball by Marcelo, after which he slammed the ball past Boerchio leaving the scoreboard at 2-1 in favor of the Hero I-League champions going into the break.
Minutes into the second 45 and Chennai City found themselves a man down. Defender Charles Lourdusamy went in with his studs up against Hume and in doing so, fouled the Pune no.7 following which the referee gave him his marching orders.
Manzi however, could have scored from nothing six minutes later, but his lob was well predicted by Kamaljit in the Stallions goal. Up at the other end, Marcelo stormed his way past four defenders into the Chennai box. Bora was unsuccessful in legally handing the Brazilian’s trickery and fouled him, for which he was then penalized.
Stankovic stepped up to take the spot-kick and converted with ease. The Pune equalizer spurred Chennai on and were rewarded for their adventure right at the hour mark. Adil used too much of his body on one of the opposition attackers in his own box, giving the referee another opportunity to award a penalty. The prolific Manzi stepped out and dually obliged to hand his team the advantage.
Pune rallied on to make their numerical advantage count, risking men forward and leaving the dangerous Manzi with all the room to roam in. Fifteen minutes later, they were made to rue that choice. The Spaniard, after being released by Néstor, ran at the Stallions defense and looked to feed it back to his countrymen, who smartly dummied the pass to allow another Spaniard, Sandro Rodriguez to get on the scoresheet.
The Stallions led again by Marcelo tried to make something of the last quarter but were thwarted in their attempt by some resolute Chennai defending as the scoreline read 4-2 in favour of Chhenai City FC at the end of the game.