Colombian striker Stiven Mendoza fired in his second hat-trick of the season as hosts Chennaiyin FC crushed Kerala Blasters 4-1 in the Indian Super League (ISL) encounter in Chennai on Saturday.
After Dhanachandra Singh opened the scoring in the 3rd minute, Mendoza scored in the 16th, 80th and 81st minute to ensure full points for the Abhishek Bachchan co-owned franchise. Mendoza is now at the top of the goalscorers’ tally with 9 strikes to his name.
The win also took Chennaiyin’s points tally to 13 from 11 games and took the team to the 6th spot, keeping their faint hopes of qualifying for the semi-final alive.
Blasters languish at the bottom of the table with 11 points from as many matches.
The floodgates opened as early as the 3rd minute, when left-back Dhanachandra Singh overlapped and unleashed a volley that beat goalkeeper Stephen Bywater convincingly.
It soon became 2-0 in the 16th minute when Mendoza’s curling volley from the edge of 18-yard box beat Bywater.
The home team went into break with their 2-0 lead intact and pressed hard in the second half. The fate of the match was sealed when Mendoza scored his second goal of the match and made it 3-0.
In the 80th minute, it was a through pass that he received from Harmanjyot Singh Khabra at the edge of the box and then beat the Blasters custodian with a deft left-footed strike taken with the outstep.
Only a minute later, the Blasters’ miseries were compounded as Mendoza completed a well-deserved hat-trick when he neatly slotted it past Bywater in a one-to-one situation.
It was in the 90th minute that Anthony German pulled one back with a shot that deflected off Dhanchandra and changed the course catching Chennaiyin goalkeeper Edel Bete on the wrongfoot before going into the net.