ISL 2017-18: Chennaiyin edge past Mumbai City FC to finish in second spot in the league phase
A 67th minute penalty strike by Rene Mihelic ensured Chennaiyin FC beat Mumbai City FC 1-0 in Chennai on Saturday, to end their league phase engagements of the Indian Super League on a winning note.
Chennai: A 67th minute penalty strike by Rene Mihelic ensured Chennaiyin FC beat Mumbai City FC 1-0 in Chennai on Saturday, to end their league phase engagements of the Indian Super League on a winning note.
The result meant that Chennaiyin finished second in the points table, behind Bengaluru FC, with 32 points.
A new-look Chennaiyin team, with the coach ringing in the changes, kept a determined Mumbai City team at bay, with some good defending.
A Balwant Singh goal for Mumbai in the dying seconds was disallowed, as he was off-side.
The second half saw both teams step up the attack though Chennaiyin FC looked sharper and likely to break through.
The two sides made substitutions and then came the big moment. Mehrajuddin Wadoo brought down Chennaiyin skipper Jaime Gavilan with a rash challenge and the referee pointed to the spot instantly.
Slovenian Rene Mihelic slotted the ball past a diving Arindam Bhattacharja to give the all-important lead, sending the home fans into raptures.
The first half was an equal battle with both teams enjoying periods of ascendency. The home team started well but Mumbai City slowly grew into the game by enjoying the greater possession.
There were a few attempts on either end, with the best one falling to Chennaiyin FC. Jude Nworuh had his shot deflected onto the post which was then eventually cleared out.
Mumbai City had a couple of decent chances as well, but nothing as concrete.
Chennaiyin's big opportunity came when Gavilan pressed forward with the ball, cut inside on his left and then fell as Lucian Goian slide to take the ball.
He appealed for a penalty, but in vain.
Raju Gaikwad attempted to clear the ball, but his shot went towards Nworuh, who took a shot which went through the goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja's legs, but brushed the inside of his thigh on its way behind and hit the post. A Mumbai defender quickly cleared it much to the team's relief.
Coach John Gregory had indicated on Friday that there could be a few changes to give the bench-warmers a go in the final league game. And he made eight changes, bringing in Pawan Kumar and Fulganco Cardozo for their much-awaited debuts for the club.
The prolific Jeje Lalpekhlua and in-form mid-fielder Raphael Augusto were left out, ahead of the play-offs.
Catch all the latest updates and the live score from the first leg semi-final encounter between FC Goa and Mumbai City FC on Firstpost.com's live blog!
Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan have both breezed into the playoffs of this season’s Indian Super League. But both teams have a chance to end the league stage at the top of the standings on Sunday
ISL 2020-21, FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC: Gama's stunner, Fall's horrible tackle and other talking points
Apart from the goals — four of them with the final scoreline reading 2-2 — there were other engaging elements from the first leg of the semi-final between FC Goa and Mumbai City FC