Chennai City FC beat NEROCA FC 2-1 on Saturday at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Coimbatore, to extend their lead at the top of the I-League table.
Roberto Eslava (14') and Nestor Gordillo (52') were on target to notch all three points for the hosts. Subash Singh (66') scored the consolation goal for the Manipuri club.
Both teams made one change each in their starting XI from their previous games. While Manuel Retamero brought back Subash Singh into the team in place of Jerry Pulamte, Pravitto Raju returned to Chennai City XI in place of Mashoor Shereef.
The match started on a wayward note with neither team getting a grip on the match in the first 10 minutes. But Chennai slowly settled down as the half progressed and broke the deadlock in the 14th minute.
Sandro Rodriguez's curling corner ricocheted off a couple of NEROCA defenders before falling to Pravitto Raju. He fed Roberto Eslava with a precise pass and the Spaniard slotted the ball home comfortably.
The home team could have doubled their lead within three minutes when Gordillo entered the penalty box from the left side and found Alexander Jesuraj who, in turn, squared the ball back to Nestor. But he could not turn it in as Mauro Boerchio collected it.
Akbar Nawaz’s men squandered another easy chance in the 25th minute when Gordillo failed to slot the ball in from a handshaking distance. He had an empty net in front of him after receiving a cross from Jesuraj but he failed to score.
But a dominant Chennai City doubled their lead early in the second half. Gordillo received a through ball from Edwin Vaspaul and went past Ashok Singh and chipped the ball over Mauro to find the back of the net.
Manuel Retamero introduced former East Bengal midfielder Katsumi Yusa shortly after conceding the second goal to inject pace in their attack.
The visitors pulled one back in 66th minute when Subash Singh took advantage of a misunderstanding between Roberto Eslava and Edwin Vanspaul inside the Chennai box and slotted the ball home.
But there would not be an equaliser as Chennai City held on easily to notch a win.
The result sees Akbar Nawaz's side remains at the top of the league table with 16 points from their first six matches. NEROCA, on the other hand, now have five points from as many matches.