ISL: Even Nicolas Anelka can't help Mumbai City FC from falling

Mumbai franchise suffer third defeat in four outings as star striker's ISL debut goes awry

Chennai: Controversial French striker Nicolas Anelka suffered a heavy defeat after his return to action yesterday following a five-match ban for an anti-semitic gesture known as a 'quenelle'.

Mumbai's Nicolas Anelka (right) vies for the ball with Jairo Carvajal of Chennaiyin FC. Pics/ISL/Sportzpics
Mumbai's Nicolas Anelka (right) vies for the ball with Jairo Carvajal of Chennaiyin FC. Pics/ISL/Sportzpics 

The 35-year-old former Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus and Real Madrid star saw his Mumbai City FC team blasted 1-5 by Chennaiyin FC in the new Indian Super League (ISL) in the southern city of Chennai.

Chennai's marquee player Elano Blumer and John Mendoza fired two goals apiece while Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua complete the rout.

For Mumbai, Syed Rahim Nabi scored the consolation goal in the 87th minute following a corner kick.

It was the third defeat in four matches for the Peter Reid-coached Mumbai team following the 0-2 loss to NorthEast United FC and a 0-3 setback against Atletico de Kolkata.

The lone win came against FC Pune City. Anelka, who missed the first three games to complete the ban, played the entire 90 minutes but failed to make up for the absence of Mumbai's other top player, former Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg, who is out of the eight-team league because of a hamstring injury.

Chennaiyin's Elano celebrates after scoring
Chennaiyin's Elano celebrates after scoring 

Until he joined Mumbai for an undisclosed fee, Anelka had been without a club after he was fired by West Bromwich Albion early this year for the 'quenelle' gesture.

Chennaiyin FC manager-cum-player and 2006 World Cup winner Marco Materrazi took the field for the first time in the ISL and the home side controlled for most part of the match against the visitors.

With Materrazi deciding to take the field and manning the central defence, there was total transformation in the attitude of the home players who got the gaps at the Mumbai FC defence.

Throughout the first half, Mumbai players lacked the thrust at the midfield and the defenders played high upfront so often that they let a lot of space on the field between goalkeeper Subrata Paul and midfield.

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