Mumbai: Mumbai City FC picked up their first three points of the 2017-18 Indian Super League campaign as they secured a thrilling 2-1 victory over FC Goa at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Saturday.
Goa started on a strong note in the first half, playing out from the back as their fullbacks marauded down the flanks to stretch play and find pockets of space in the opposition half. Eduardo Bedia was midfield general for the visitors, as he kept the passes ticking while distributing the long balls on either side of the channels.
In an attempt to counter Goa’s midfield strength, Mumbai coach Alexandre Guimaraes deployed defender Gerson Viera in holding midfield role, to provide screening for the four-man defence.
While the Gaurs managed to dominate possession and find spaces through some excellent linkup play between the Spanish trio of Ferran Corominas, Manuel Lanzarote and Manuel Arana, some vital interceptions by the likes of Marcio Rozario and Lucian Goian kept the Islanders in the game.
Sergio Lobera’s men received a moment of scare in the 23rd minute when they nearly came close to conceding an own goal before the woodwork provided some much needed luck. Balwant Singh found Achille Emana on the left before Seriton Fernandes intercepted with a sliding tackle. The ball glided past shot stopper Laxmikant Kattimani before kissing the inside of the post and eventually moving out of the danger zone.
Despite constant failed attempts, the real opportunity for the visitors arrived just before the half-time break. Manuel Rodriguez disposed Gerson outside the box, before drifting inside and splitting a delicious through ball in the path of Ahmed Jahoud on the right. Though the Moroccan had his shot blocked, some sloppy defending from Abhinash Ruidas presented Corrominas with another bite at the cherry that resulted in Amrinder Singh forcing a fine save.
The deadlock was finally broken past the hour mark as Everton dos Santos pounced on a horrific goal-kick error by Goa skipper Kattimani.
That, however, did not affect the Gaurs’ morale as they continued to charge upfront, with the Spanish trio of Lanzarote, Rodriguez and Corrominas sparkling in the final third, only to be denied by a cramped defensive line. Five minutes later, Manuel Arana played a delightful through ball to Corominas who calmly chipped the ball over the onrushing Manpreet only to see the linesman raised the offside flag.
Both managers didn’t seem pleased with a point and brought in fresh legs to counter-attack each other more effectively.
With minutes ticking on the clock, the three Spanairds once again produced a moment of magic to cheer the Goan faithful. Lanzarote found Corrominas free on the right, who responded with a silken back pass into the path of Arana, who easily slotted past Amrinder Singh.
Tied at 1-1, nothing more than a draw evitable for both the sides. But substitute Thiago Dos Santos had some other plans. The Brazilian midfielder found space on the right and dribbled past his two markers, firing past Kattimani on a tight angle to send the home crowd into frenzy.
The win saw Mumbai continue their successful record and move upto 5th place, while the Goans remained stationed at 4th spot.
Mumbai City FC 2 (Everton Dos Santos 59, Thiago Dos Santos 88) bt FC Goa 1 (Manuel Arana 83)