A gripping contest in the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) saw Mumbai City FC defeat FC Goa by a 2-0 scoreline at the Athletic Stadium, here on Saturday.
The result helped the reigning champions Mumbai climb to the fourth position, dismantling Kerala Blasters FC that had leapfrogged them with a 3-0 win over Chennaiyin FC earlier in the evening.
Mehtab Singh (35') headed the Islanders into the lead in the first half and a second was added by Diego Mauricio (86') late in the game to secure the three points.
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In a very eventful start to the match for the Islanders, Igor Angulo hit the crossbar with a looping header and was unlucky not to score. That was followed by a moment of madness by Mohamad Nawaz who miscued a simple clearance and gave away a penalty. Airam Cabrera stepped up but Nawaz made a brilliant save, thereby making up for the earlier mistake.
Five minutes after the half-hour mark, MCFC finally went into the lead through Mehtab Singh, who expertly headed a Cassio Gabriel's cross inside the back of the net.
A few minutes later, Angulo looked to have added a second but the goal was disallowed for a foul in the build-up. The first half concluded with the Islanders having their noses in front, marginally albeit.
The second half saw the Gaurs start brightly as Ivan Gonzalez hit the side-netting and Devendra Murgaonkar hit the top of the crossbar looking for the equaliser. Lalengmawia then slotted the ball in the net for MCFC past the hour mark but it was disallowed for an offside leading up to the goal.
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The lead was finally doubled in the final stages of the game by substitute Diego Mauricio. The striker took advantage of a miscommunication from Goa's defence and powered his shot past Naveen Kumar from close-range. The Gaurs were clearly lacking drive towards the end of the game as MCFC successfully kept the clean sheet in addition to getting the three vital points.
Mumbai City FC will next play a nail-biting semi-final spot decider with Kerala Blasters FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Wednesday while FC Goa also have a meeting with the Yellow Army in their next at the Athletic Stadium on Sunday.