The penultimate fixture in Group B of the 2022 AFC Champions League is upon Mumbai City FC and the Islanders are back where they began their journey in Asia’s premier club competition. Mumbai City FC return to the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium to face current group leaders Al Shabab FC. Des Buckingham’s side will face off tonight against the Saudi side in a late night kick off for the first time in the competition, at 11:15pm AST (1:45am IST).
Mumbai City FC made their debut in the AFC Champions League when they faced Al Shabab FC in their Group B opener. The Islanders displayed positive attacking intent along with resolute defending in the opening exchanges of the first half but were pegged back after a controversial penalty call in the favour of the de-facto hosts. Argentine icon Ever Banega converted from the spot to give Al Shabab the lead going into the break after what was an otherwise positive first half from Des Buckingham’s side against a strong opposition.
The second half continued in similar fashion with the Islanders soaking pressure from the Saudi club while creating chances of their own. But two momentary lapses of concentration meant Al Shabab netted two more times in the second 45 with Ever Banega securing his brace and substitute Turki Al-Ammar bagging his side’s third, both from the edge of the box and the night ending 0-3 for the Islanders at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium.
Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham said, “Al Shabab are a wonderful team. They’ve got some hugely experienced players who’ve competed not just at this level but at World Cups too. We know the dangers they possess, we’ve seen them consistently throughout the AFC Champions League so far and it’s more about how we go about what we’ll do and if we can stick to our game, we’ll be able to continue to perform the way have so far and possibly get a result.”
Mumbai City FC goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa said, “Al Shabab are one of the best teams in the league. If we stick to our plans and work as a collective, we can get points. This is football, we can upset any team if we work together for 90 minutes. That’s the beauty of this game.”
The game will kick off at 11:15pm AST (April 23, 1:45am IST) and will be broadcast on the Star Sports 3, Disney+ Hotstar, and Jio TV for all viewers in India.