It took only a minute for Odisha to identify Mumbai City FC’s weakness. Marcos Tebar, the Odisha captain, released Jerry Mawhmingthanga on the right, who showed his speed and lashed in a curler from outside the box but Mohammed Rafique came to the rescue and cleared the danger away. It was routine attacking move, but it was enough for Odisha to spot the hole in their opponents’ defence. Mumbai’s left-back Subhasish Bose was no match to the pace of Jerry and Odisha exploited this to perfection.
The first goal came in the sixth minute. Xisco Hernandez collects the ball and darts towards the goal on the right side. Subhasish, meanwhile, whose responsibility it is to track those runs, is merely jogging. Xisco beats Pratik Chaudhari by taking a smart touch and smashes the ball into the far corner. 1-0 to the visitors.
In the 21st minute, Jerry finds acres of space, once again on the right and Subhasish again fails to track the run. Jerry passes the ball to Aridane Santana in the centre and the forward places the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. Superb finish. 2-0.
Twenty minutes after the second goal, Shubham Sarangi puts in an excellent diagonal pass to Nandhakumar Sekar on the left. Rafique, the makeshift right-back of the team lets him take the shot. Goalkeeper Amrinder Singh manages to get fingertips to the ball which eventually ricochets off the bar and falls to Jerry, who shows lovely control to score the goal. Subhasish, again on the right, does nothing to stop Jerry. 3-0. Game over.
After the half-time break, manager Jorge Costa replaced Subhasish with Valpuia, but the damage was already done.
Sure, the final scoreline of the match read 4-2 to Odisha but Mumbai's two goals were nothing but consolation. A dodgy penalty decision and a mistake from Odisha goalkeeper Francisco Dorronsoro. In reality, the game was nothing short of humiliation for Mumbai. They were outplayed it their own backyard, tasting first defeat of the season.
At the post-match press conference, Costa refused to talk about individual performances. It clearly showed that he was furious with his team's performance. When questioned about the removal of Subhasish after the first half, Costa said he doesn't want to comment on it because it would get him into trouble. Without saying much, Costa conveyed a lot about his state of mind.
Going into the match, Mumbai were missing the services of some of key players due to injuries. And just before the start, they lost Rowllin Borges, who was named in the teamsheet but got injured during the pre-game warm-up. A last-minute change in an already depleted team made things more difficult for Costa.
After going down 0-2 in the first 21 minutes, Mumbai had great chance to find their way back into the game. Just after the half-hour mark, Diego Carlos did well to get into the box from the left and passed the ball to Serge Kevyn. The winger made space in the centre of the box and took a shot from close range, but the strike was not even on target. A glorious chance went for a toss. At that moment, if Mumbai had scored a goal then Odisha would've felt the pressure. Mumbai dearly missed the experienced Modou Sougou, who could convert those chances.
Mumbai started the second-half on more positive note. They found their attacking groove for a short period as Odisha's defenders were kept on their toes. Five minutes post the break, Mumbai got their chance to pull one back. Dorronsoro came off his line to clear the danger but clashed with Kevyn who tried to beat the goalkeeper by lifting the ball high. At first glance, it did look like a right call but replays were unconvincing. Kevyn was not fully in control of the ball and the clash was not entirely the fault of the goalkeeper. Nevertheless, Mohamed Larbi made no mistake in converting the chance.
Mumbai did enjoy the possession but any chances of comeback was thwarted in the 73rd minute. Once again, it was the combination of Jerry and Santana that did the damage. With no man marking him, Jerry collected the ball and put a pinpoint cross to Santana, who headed the ball into the net to make it four for his team. Jerry ran the show from the wings and Mumbai defenders gave him all the space and freedom to display his talent. There's no question about Odisha being the deserving winners but the fact remains that Mumbai's failure to put up a fight was also a contributing factor in Odisha's victory.
Mumbai scored their second goal just before the full-time. Bipin Singh's cross from the left was straight to Dorronsoro, who fumbled and the ball rolled into the net. It was a silly mistake which could've proved to be costly on any other day.
Speaking to the reporters after the match, Odisha FC manager Josep Gombau expressed joy after team's first win of the season and said his players, especially the wingers Nandakumar and Jerry executed the game plan perfectly. "I like to play with open wingers, something that I have always done. Coming from Barcelona, it is usual to play a 1-4-3-3 and we are playing 4-2-1-3 because we have the right players for this. They are quick and are comfortable playing wide. I think they will grow as they are still very young. They are doing well and I’m very happy with them.”
Mumbai have a lot to contemplate before they step on to the field to take Sergio Lobera's FC Goa on 7 November. It's just one defeat but the manner in which it came would be more troubling for Costa. More than anything, he would hope for an early return of defender Mato Grgic and goalscorer Sougou. He needs his important players.
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Updated Date: Nov 01, 2019 12:06:28 IST