Mumbai City FC registered yet another stellar victory against FC Goa at home as the Islanders won 4-1, extending the lead at the top of the ISL table and grabbing a fourth consecutive win.
Des Buckingham named one change to his starting eleven from the game against NorthEast United FC. Apuia Ralte returned to the starting line up in midfield in place of Vinit Rai. Phurba started in goal; Mehtab Singh partnered Rostyn Griffiths in central defence. They were flanked by Rahul Bheke and Vignesh, who was making his 50th appearance for the Islanders. Apuia Ralte partnered the creative Ahmed Jahouh who was making his 100th appearance in the ISL. The influential Greg Stewart started alongside Apuia and Jahouh in midfield. Jorge Pereyra Diaz was leading the line for the Islanders. He was flanked by Lallianzuala Chhangte on the right and Bipin Singh on the left wing of the Mumbai City FC attack.
Mumbai City FC looked to start the game on the front foot but FC Goa were marshalling the Islanders attackers expertly in the opening minutes pushing them wide and not allowing them a clear run at goal.
The first chance of the game broke the way for the Gaurs in the 4th minute of the game. Ayush Chettri played a ball down the right flank into space behind the Islanders back line. Alavaro Vazquez beat the offside trap and got a clear run at goal from a tight angle. He shot soon after getting into the Islanders penalty box but was denied a goal by Phurba who got down expertly to punch the ball out. The scores read 0-0, thanks to the Islanders custodian.
Carlos Pena’s tactical setup of FC Goa was causing some problems for Mumbai City FC, who unlike themselves were finding it hard to dominate the ball in the first 15 minutes of the game.
The next chance of the game broke the way of FC Goa in the 11th minute of the game. Redeem tricked past a couple of Mumbai City FC players after he was played in by Vazquez on the right flank. His following shot was punched away by Phurba for a corner
Soon after, Mumbai City FC took the lead in the 17th minute of the game. Bheke nicked the ball in midfield and was picked up by Greg Stewart, who attacked the vacant space ahead of him. He then played in Jorge Pereyra Diaz who had made a smart diagonal run behind the FC Goa defence. Pereyra Diaz then tricked his way past a FC Goa defender with a slick nutmeg to make space for himself and calmly slotted the ball past Dheeraj to make it 1-0 for the Islanders.
The Islanders’ lead however did not last for too long as FC Goa equalised in the 23rd minute. Redeem was played in by Edu Bedia with a searching diagonal ball into space on the right flank. He ran at the Mumbai City FC backline with intent, slowly cutting inside towards goal. He then played in Iker Guarrotxena on the edge of the box who shot the ball through a crowd of players right at Phurba. The Islanders goalkeeper failed to catch the ball as it slipped from his hands into the goal. It became 1-1 as FC Goa had clawed their way back into the game.
Des Buckingham’s Mumbai City FC and Carlos Pena’s FC Goa were matching each other punch for punch. Tackles were flying around and the atmosphere inside the stadium was tense as the game properly started to feel like a derby.
The next chance of the game broke the way of the Islanders in the 35th minute of the game. Greg was played into space deep inside the FC Goa half. He then took the ball onto his weaker foot to get his shot away from the space right outside the box. His shot narrowly went wide of the right post as Dheeraj was scrambling across his goal to make sure the ball did not sneak into the goal.
With each kick of the ball the game was getting more and more intense as the fans inside the stadium were adding to the pace and intensity of the game.
The Islanders took the lead again in the 43rd minute of the game with a sublime counter attack. Apuia got the ball from Greg right at the halfway line and advanced forward. He played in Chhangte on the right wing who broke into the FC Goa penalty box with pace. The Islanders’ number 7 then held off two FC Goa defenders and made space for himself coming in from the right. He curled the ball perfectly into the left bottom corner to make it 2-1 in favour of the Islanders as Dheeraj could just watch the ball go into the goal.
Soon after the Islanders’ 2nd goal of the game, the referee blew for half time as he brought the action packed first half to a close at 2-1. Mumbai City FC went into the half time break with a slender lead arguably playing their most competitive game of the season yet.
Des Buckingham made a double half-time substitution as he brought off Vignesh for Mandar Rao Dessai. Ahmed Jahouh came off and was replaced by Alberto Noguera before the second half commenced.
The half-time substitutions for the Islanders seem to be doing the trick as they were finding it much easier to dominate the ball after the restart. The Islanders’ ball dominance yielded immediate results as they made it 3-1 in the 49th minute of the game. Greg won the ball in the attacking half and played in Chhangte in acres of space on the right wing. He broke into the box and played a simple ball across the face of goal to find an unmarked Pereyra Diaz in the centre who calmly slotted the ball past Dheeraj to make it 3-1 for the Islanders.
The Islanders looked to be back at their dominant best after the restart as Buckingham’s tactical tweaks were turning out to be too much for FC Goa. The next chance of the game broke the way of the Islanders in the 53rd minute of the game. Greg found Bipin in space on the left wing with a smart through ball. Bipin’s following shot was parried away by Dheeraj but fell kindly for Pereyra Diaz who could not capitalise on the chance and grab his hattrick. The scores still read 3-1 as FC Goa were being pinned back into their own half due to the waves of attacks the Islanders were throwing at them.
The Islanders stretched their lead further in the 55th minute of the game. Chhangte took a short corner on the left wing to play in Greg, who bore down on goal from a tight angle. He then got his shot away but was punched out by Dheeraj. The ball however fell right at the feet of Noguera outside the box, who walloped the ball into the net from 25 yards out to make it 4-1 in favour of the Islanders.
Carlos Pena made a substitution in the 56th minute of the game hoping that his FC Goa side will find a way to claw their way back into the game as he brought on Makan Chote for Redeem.
He made a double substitution a minute later to change the tactical setup of the Gaurs. Aibhanbha Dholing and Alvaro Vazquez came off for Noah Sadoui and Sanson Pereira respectively in the 57th minute of the game.
Pena made another substitution in the 63rd minute of the game as he brought on Glan Martins for Ayush Chettri.
FC Goa had lost their impetus from the first half and looked sluggish in the second half of the game. Looking to capitalise on this, Buckingham made another tactical switch soon after as he brought on Mourtada Fall for Greg Stewart in 65th of the game.
Both teams were struggling to carve out clear cut chances in the last 30 minutes of the game. The Islanders were dominating the ball with ease and were constantly pushing the Gaurs back into their half as they were not letting them retain the ball for too long.
Mumbai City FC made another double substitution in the 74th minute of the game. Chhangte and Apuia came off for Vikram Partap Singh and Rowlin Borges respectively.
FC Goa went down to 10 men soon after in the 79th minute, as a loose challenge from Edu Bedia saw him receive his second yellow of the game as the struggles of FC Goa increased going into the last ten minutes of the game.
In the 80th minute of the match, Pena made his final substitution as he brought on Arnaout for Marc Valiente.
The Islanders’ dominance led to a chance in the 82nd of the game Noguera whipped the ball into the box from the right side of the pitch. The cross was cleverly controlled by Jorge Pereyra Diaz, who set the ball up for Bipin to run onto. Unfortunately, Bipin’s following shot was just wide of the post as the Islanders were still looking for their fifth goal of the game.
The last chance of the game broke the way of the Islanders in the 85th minute of the game. Mandar Rao Dessai broke forward from left back with the ball. He unleashed a thunderous shot at goal from distance which narrowly missed the target. The scores still read 4-1 as the Islanders were well on their way to register their 6th win of the season.
The referee soon after blew the final whistle of the game, as the game ended at 4-1 in favour of the Islanders.
The Islanders will now go on a 15-day break as they face East Bengal FC away from home on December 16 in their next ISL game.