News & Features/Gaurs go down to Islanders in Mumbai
Mumbai City FC stole a late winner from under the noses of visitors FC Goa at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Saturday.
The Gaurs dominated possession for large periods of the match but were unable to capitalize as Mumbai took the lead in the second half after Kattimani’s attempted clearance came off Everton Santos and ricocheted into an empty net. The Gaurs hit back through Manuel Arana late in the game after a superb counter attack but the Islanders found time to score a winner through substitute Thiago Santos two minutes from time.
FC Goa picked up where they left off from against Chennaiyin FC and dominated possession in the early stages of the match. However, it was Mumbai City FC who were presented with the first chance of the match as a long ball fell kindly for Balwant Singh. Seriton Fernandes however, got in the way and cleared acrobatically. Not long after, neat interplay between Coro and Manuel Lanzarote could have seen the Gaurs in front if not for a good block from Coro’s cross. On the 20th minute mark, Lanzarote put in an outrageous long ball towards Coro who trapped it superbly in the box but his shot was blocked well. At the other end, Seriton tackled Balwant once more and cleared the ball away from Goa’s box.
As the half progressed, Goa continued to dominate possession but were unable to penetrate the Mumbai defence. It was the home side that had the majority of the chances. In the 22nd minute, Sanju Pradhan put in another long ball towards Balwant but this time Ali Mohammad cleared away the danger. FC Goa were given another warning in the 23rd minute when a ball towards Emana was deflected by Seriton towards his own goal. The ball beat Laxmikant Kattimani and ricocheted back off the inside of the near post. The referee however, blew the whistle for offside. The Islanders continued to create more chances despite having much possession. Ahmed Jahouh was caught in possession in the 32nd minute and Emana collected the ball and played Balwant through. The striker’s heavy first touch took him away from goal and his resultant shot hit the side netting.
Mumbai should have had the lead in the 41st minute after Arana gave the ball away in the middle of the park. Everton Santos was played through down the left and found himself in the box with space and time on his hands. Ali however, recovered well and blocked the winger’s goal bound shot. In stoppage time, the Gaurs missed a gilt edged chance to score and put pressure on the home side. Arana played Jahouh through on the right side of the box but the midfielder’s shot was blocked. The ball fell to an unmarked Coro who swiveled and shot instinctively but Amrinder Singh got in the way well to make a superb save as the chance went begging.
Mumbai made a change at the beginning of the second half as they brought on Zakeer Mundampara for Raju Gaikwad. Mumbai were off the blocks quickly as they looked for the breakthrough. Jahouh’s attempted clearance fell for Balwant who ran towards goal but shot straight at Kattimani. It was Goa’s turn to trouble the defence moments later when Jahouh showed tremendous vision to find a superb run from Coro but the striker’s first touch let him down and the danger was cleared. Lanza almost scored a second lobbed goal moments later when Mandar played him through on the left. His lob over the keeper though came off the post and Amrinder held on to it. The breakthrough finally came in the 59th minute however, when Kattimani’s attempted clearance came off Everton Santos and ricocheted into the net. The Mumbai winger closed down the keeper who should have cleared the ball. Coro had the ball in the net in the 66th minute after brilliant play down the middle. The linesman however, incorrectly flagged him offside after he was at least a yard on.
The Gaurs continued to apply pressure in a bid to get back into the game. Sergio Lobera brought on youngster Liston Colaco for Narayan Das as he looked for more attacking impetus. The equalizer finally came in the 83rd minute after an excellent counter attack from Goa. Arana trapped the ball brilliantly in midfield and played Coro through down the right. The striker ran into the box and squared it for Arana whose first time shot flew into the back of the net. It was a well deserved equalizer for the Gaurs who were pouring forward in waves. Lanzarote smashed a shot towards goal in the 87th minute from distance but Amrinder Singh made a good save to keep him out. Two minutes before regulation time though, poor defending gave the Islanders the lead once more. Substitute Thiago Santos ran down the right unchecked and put the ball through Kattimani’s legs at the near post. As the game ticked to a finish, Goa continued to pile on the pressure. The Gaurs were denied a good claim for a penalty in stoppage time as Mumbai held on for a memorable win.
The Gaurs return to Goa after two games on the road and will play Bengaluru FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on 30th November 2017 in what promises to be a fascinating encounter.