Thursday , February 29 2024

Mumbai City FC lose 1-2 to Navbahor in AFC Champions League!

The Islanders started brightly, showcasing intent to control the proceedings and make inroads into the Navbahor defence.

In the 8th minute, a well-executed sequence saw Bheke threading a through ball to Greg Stewart, who, in collaboration with Diaz, found Vikram on the wings. Vikram’s enticing cross flashed across the face of the goal, signalling Mumbai’s early attacking prowess.

However, the 10th minute brought a setback for Mumbai as Van Nieff received a yellow card for a mistimed challenge, a caution that added a layer of caution to Mumbai’s midfield dynamics.

Few minutes later, Mumbai City FC finally managed to get a breakthrough. Greg Stewart delivered an immaculately weighted ball into the box, where Pereyra Diaz’s header hit the left post. Opportunistically, El Khayati was perfectly positioned to tap home, opening the scoring for Mumbai and marking their first goal of their ACL campaign.

Couple of minutes later, Akash Mishra won the ball on the wings, delivering a dangerous cross into the far post. Vikram Singh nearly capitalized on the opportunity, but the Navbahor defence cleared the threat just in time.

Navbahor responded aggressively soon after, exploiting a defensive miscommunication to grant A Sobirjanov a shot on goal. Still, Griffiths intervened effectively, blocking the attempt to maintain Mumbai’s lead.

In the 23rd minute, Greg Stewart embarked on a mesmerizing run from defence to attack, navigating past 3-4 Navbahor players before being halted at the edge of the box.

However, Navbahor managed to level the score around the half hour mark. Akash Mishra’s foul outside the box earned him a yellow card, and from the resulting free-kick, Jamshid Iskanderov curled the ball over the wall, finding the top right corner and bringing the score to 1-1.

Few minutes later, Navbahor were presented with another dangerous set-piece opportunity after Apuia’s foul just outside the box. Toma Tabatadze’s free-kick aimed to replicate the earlier success, but Nawaz’s fingertip save denied Navbahor the lead. The ensuing attack from the right wing kept Mumbai’s defense on high alert.

As the first half approached its conclusion, Akash Mishra’s cross on the left took a deflection off his marker’s foot, nearly slipping into the goal but hitting the bar. The rebound fell to Vikram, who passed to El Khayati, but the keeper saved the subsequent shot.

In the final minute of the first half, Navbahor seized the advantage after a series of corners. Jamshid’s delivery eluded everyone, finding Jovan Dokic, who clinically shot past the keeper, making it 2-1 in favour of Navbahor.

Early in the second half, Akash Mishra, eager to contribute from the flank, received the ball on the byline. However, his subsequent cross sailed over its intended target, missing the opportunity. Mumbai quickly regrouped, launching a counter-attack led by Jorge Pereyra Diaz, who found Greg on the wings. Greg made a penetrating run into the box, but the final cutback was adeptly cleared by the resilient Navbahor defence.

Navbahor, keen on extending their lead, nearly succeeded minutes later, when Luka Cermelj’s right-footed shot from outside the box, narrowly missed the right goalpost.

Mumbai, however, continued their offensive push, with Greg threading a ball into the Navbahor box finding Vikram, who managed to win a corner. The resulting corner from Greg Stewart set the stage for Diaz’s involvement at the far post, delivering a cross that Tiri headed just over the bar,

In the 65th minute, a tactical substitution saw Mehtab Singh replacing Rostyn Griffiths, injecting fresh energy into the Mumbai side. The team orchestrated a series of passes, directing play towards Vikram on the right. However, the eventual cross landed straight into the keeper’s hands.

The 72nd minute witnessed a promising sequence, with Diaz skilfully keeping the ball in play on the right and finding Mishra, whose cross across is headed down and to the centre by Vikram. The ball finds Apuia, whose shot from outside the box has the power but is straight to keeper.

At the other end, Jamshid Iskanderov’s free kick for Navbahor from just outside the box goes over the bar. Mumbai City FC introduced a double change in the 75th minute, bringing on Bipin Singh and L. Chhangte for Vikram Singh and El Khayati, respectively.

Chhangte’s corner delivery in the 81st minute posed a threat, punched away by the Navbahor keeper. The subsequent action saw Rahul getting a faint touch, but the keeper thwarted any potential tap-in from Diaz.

In the 83rd minute, Vinit Rai and Jayesh Rane entered the fray, replacing Akash Mishra and Apuia, adding more attacking options for Mumbai. The late stages of the game witnessed a flurry of attempts. Diaz laid off a ball for Greg Stewart inside the box, whose shot from close range was blocked. Bipin, with a brilliant run, cut inside and found Rane, but the shot from a tight angle was saved by the keeper.

As the clock ticked down, Bipin delivered a brilliant ball into the box in the 90th minute, but Diaz’s header soared over the bar. In the dying moments, Greg Stewart showcased his skill, bypassing a couple of defenders to set up Vinit, whose shot from distance missed the target.

In the final seconds of the game Mumbai make a desperate attempt into find the equalizer but failed to find one as the referee blows the final whistle.

With the referee’s final whistle Mumbai City FC ended their AFC Champions League campaign. The focus will now be towards the ongoing Indian Super League campaign.. The squad is now poised for their next challenge on December 8, as they prepare to face Bengaluru FC away from home.

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