Chennai City registered a 4-3 win against a relegation-threatened Aizawl in I-League on Friday at the Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore.
Sandro Rodríguez (28', 69') and Pedro Manzi (60', 80') sealed the win for Chennai. Albert Zohmingmawia (37') Isak Vanlalruatfela (90+1') and Lalkhawpuimawia (90+2') were the scorers for Aizawl.
Both teams made two changes to their lineup. Pandiyan Sinivasan and Joseph Kaplan started for Chennai City in place of Sriram and the suspended Roberto Eslava. Albert Zohmingmawia and Vanlalduatsanga replaced Lalrosanga and Lalrozama Fanai for Aizawl.
Chennai City did not have to wait too long to find their passing rhythm as Aizawl invited pressure and relied on counter-attacks.
The in-form Spanish trio leading the home team's attack created their first major opening in the 20th minute. Sandro Rodriguez, Nestor Gordillo and Pedro Manzi formed a passing triangle at the edge of the box that released Manzi into the box. The league's joint top scorer smashed his effort wide of goal, allowing Gurpreet Singh a sigh of relief.
The game sprung to life in the 27th minute with chances at both ends. Sandro was at the end of a good move by the league leaders as left-back Ajithkumar's cross found its way to the striker who shot wide. Leonce Dodoz beat the offside trap and was sent through on goal seconds later but the striker failed to hit the target.
Chennai's consistent pressure was rewarded a minute later. Pravitto Raju took his marker on for pace on the right flank and found Sandro at the edge of the box whose first-time effort beat Gurpreet Singh in goal.
Aizawl were relentless in their response and got back into the game in the 37th minute. Alfred Jaryan took on the Chennai defence in a counter-attack and released Albert Zohmingmawia into the box. The forward scored from an acute angle to level the scoreline.
The visitors were a nuisance to the makeshift home defence after the break as well. In the 54th minute, Leonce Dodoz outfoxed Kaplan on the left flank before surging into the box. Gourav Bora's sliding challenge just before the striker could shoot saved Chennai.
Alexander Jesuraj failed to find an open net at the other end a minute later after Ajithkumar won possession and crossed brilliantly from the left flank. Nestor Gordillo's finesse shot just before the half-hour mark struck the crossbar to add to Chennai's frustration.
Pedro Manzi scored his 12th goal of the season and ended Chennai's wait in the 60th minute. With Gurpreet off his line, Manzi latched onto Jesuraj's ball from the back and lobbed the keeper from near the halfway line.
The leaders asserted control of the game as the second half wore on and extended their lead in the 69th minute. Sandro Rodriguez lived up to his reputation of a free-kick maestro with a splendid effort from 35 yards that found the top left corner.
Nestor Gordillo and Pedro Manzi combined well in the attacking third to bring up Chennai's fourth goal. The latter received the return from a one-two and dinked the ball past Gurpreet to complete the victory.
Injury time goals from Vanlalruatfela and Lalkhawpuimawia handed Chennai a scare but there was no time for a comeback.