ISL 2019-20: Mumbai secure vital victory with spirited display as NorthEast United's winless streak extends to nine matches
Mumbai City FC registered a much-needed 1-0 victory over NorthEast United in Friday’s clash at the Mumbai Football Arena, and that could not have come at a better time for Jorge Costa’s men.
With all the top teams vying for the playoff spot, this was a morale-boosting performance for Mumbai City FC
Although both the teams looked scrappy in the initial few minutes, the hosts showed more intent and put up a more spirited performance with brilliant attacking display
Mumbai coach Jorge Costa confirmed after the match that defender Sarthak Golui will be out of action till the end of season
Mumbai City FC registered a much-needed 1-0 victory over NorthEast United in Friday’s clash at the Mumbai Football Arena, and the win could not have come at a better time for Jorge Costa’s men.
With all the top teams vying for the playoff spot, this was a morale-boosting performance from the hosts, amidst a few unfortunate injury concerns.
The only change Costa made for this game from their disappointing draw against Hyderabad FC was the return of Moudou Sougou, who was returning from injury after missing out on the previous game. However, the joy of his return was short-lived after receiving a yellow card for initiating a challenge on Lalengmawia. Sougou will now miss Mumbai's next clash.
Although both the teams looked scrappy in the initial few minutes, the hosts showed more intent and put up a more spirited performance with brilliant attacking display, which was in a stark contrast to NorthEast United’s continued midfield woes.
Speaking of which, the hosts had already created a couple of chances in the first 15 minutes, with a great co-ordination between Mohammad Larbi and Diego Carlos with one of them having Larbi run down from the left flank and crossing the ball to the centre of the box to Carlos, whose header missed the goal just by a whisker.
Another opportunity for the hosts came in the 23rd minute, when Amine Chermiti won a free kick following a foul from Wayne Vaz. Once again, the Mumbai striker showed intent but it ended as a wasted effort after he smashed the ball directly to the wall.
Carlos was the most formidable of all attackers during the course of the match, and although he received a yellow for a rash tackle on Raegan Singh early on in the match, he broke the deadlock just before half-time to cheer up the home fans. Again, co-ordination was key to this goal as Larbi whipped a cross to Carlos, who scripted a left-footed shot from inside the left side of the box to find the net.
Mumbai made two substitutions before the start of the second-half, with one of them being forced after Subhashish Bose suffered a niggle. The defender had to be substituted out for Bipin in the second half.
The other substitution was Bidyananda Singh coming in for Sourav Das.
The hosts continued the trend of dominating the contest in the second half as well, with Sougou narrowly missing out on doubling the lead in the hour-mark after winning the ball at the right flank and running through inside the box. He attempted the shot from a very narrow angle, but just missed the far pole. Chermiti, too was running in towards the far pole, but Sougou missed the chance to pass the ball to Chermiti and utilise a potential opportunity.
United's woes continued after Reagen was sent-off for a reckless challenge on Mumbai's Carlos in the dying stages of the match.
After the match, Costa admitted that his team was playing under tremendous pressure and revealed that some of the players who started were not fully fit. However, he seemed a satisfied man after the win.
“We are playing under a lot of pressure. We have to win and we don’t have any other option. My players have to deal with the pressure and if they can’t there are other professions – they can work in the bank or supermarket,” the coach said at the post-match press conference before adding that Sarthak Golui is ruled out till the end of season.
“We are also facing some physical problems, some players who started today were not 100 percent fit. What matters most, in the end, is the three points. Sarthak is out until the end of the season. He has a knee injury and will be out for 4-6 weeks," he added.
For United coach Robert Jarni, this was the fourth consecutive game in which his team has failed to score at all. The last goal his team scored came in a 1-1 draw in Kochi against Kerala Blasters in December.
Once again, he admitted that, his players kept losing control and lamented the wasted chances.
“We had many chances in the first half. We couldn't score. In the second half, we could play patiently to get behind them. We kept losing control in our search for an equalizer,” he said after the match.
“We played a good game. We need to work on the finishing. But for now, the future is there. We have good foreign players but they will take some time to adapt. It is a difficult situation,” the coach added.
The result leaves NorthEast winless in nine matches, while Mumbai cruise back to the top four with 23 points, two more than fifth-placed Odisha.
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NorthEast United said that the decision was taken due to a "contrast in the team’s current tactics and the club’s philosophy and vision."
After 13 games, sixth-placed Chennaiyin have netted just 10 goals -- the least by any team. Their 0-1 defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan in the previous match meant that they have now failed to score in seven matches out of 13 -- the most by any side.
Ferrando’s men conceded the first goal in 8 out of their 10 matches. Lapses in concentration are not doing justice to their defense which, overall, has performed decently.