ISL 2020-21: Plucky NorthEast United FC spoil Sergio Lobera's Mumbai City FC debut with 1-0 win
A red card to Jahouh and a penalty turned the game, that Mumbai were otherwise dominating, on its head and handed NorthEast United FC a winning start
Vasco: Kwesi Appiah scored from the spot as NorthEast United FC began their Indian Super League campaign with a 1-0 win over Mumbai City FC on Saturday.
A red card and a penalty turned the game, that Mumbai were otherwise dominating, on its head and handed NorthEast United FC a winning start at the Tilak Maidan.
Appiah (49') scored the only goal from a penalty after the Islanders were reduced to 10-men following Ahmed Jahouh's red card just before the breather.
In the early stages, it looked like NorthEast were aiming for nothing more than a goalless draw, with extreme caution visible in their game plan.
Predictably, it was Mumbai who dominated the first half. The Islanders were neat and proactive for long spells, though they were unable to find a cutting edge.
Despite having players like Jahouh, Hugo Boumous, and Rowllin Borges, all capable of creating magic on their day, Sergio Lobera's side failed to get a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
They did hold the lion's share of the possession that occasionally resulted in hopeful efforts. In the 12th minute, Adam le Fondre's cross from the right wing found striker Bartholomew Ogbeche. The resulting effort though was intercepted by NorthEast defender Ashutosh Mehta.
In the next few minutes, an Ogbeche header went over the bar while Jahouh took two attempts from distance. A clear-cut chance though was still eluding Lobera's men.
Then, the match took an unexpected turn as Jahouh, who was dictating things from midfield, was sent off with a straight red, a couple of minutes before half time. His offence was a studs-up challenge on NorthEast's Khassa Camara.
Gerard Nus' men capitalised on their numerical advantage soon after the restart. The Highlanders were awarded a penalty in the 49th minute when the ball struck Borges' arm after NorthEast's Dylan Fox had headed in a short corner. Appiah sent keeper Amrinder Singh in wrong direction.
With Mumbai now under pressure, NorthEast took control over the game with Khumanthem Meetei and Appiah making regular inroads. Lobera made a tactical change replacing Ogbeche with Stephen Goddard, giving Le Fondre a central role up front.
Mumbai had a rare opportunity in the 65th minute when Sarthak got his head to a cross, but his effort sailed inches over the bar. Lobera's team kept knocking on the door in the final quarter, but an equaliser eluded them.
The club said in a statement that it has written to the AIFF's Referee's Department regarding the decisions during their matches played on 2 and 14 January, against Kerala Blasters FC and NorthEast United FC.
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NorthEast United were off to a flying start courtesy of Santana's individual brilliance. The 31-year old Spaniard curled in a delectable free-kick at the near post leaving Dheeraj Moirangthem with no chance as the ball pinged in off the crossbar.
Chennaiyin rode a second-half blitz to move to third position in the points table as they heaped more misery on NorthEast United with a 2-1 victory in the ISL in Margao on Saturday.