Match Report: Hyderabad FC 0-2 Mumbai City FC
Hyderabad FC went ahead with the same playing eleven that defeated East Bengal 3-2 in their previous encounter. The Islanders made 3 changes as Amey Ranawade, Hernan Santana, Raynier Fernandes replaced Mohamad Rakip, Mehtab Singh and Bart Ogbeche. Hugo Boumous was named in the XI but picked up an injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Cy Goddard.
The initial moments of the first-half was dominated by possession as both sides made a few runs inside the opposition's box but lacked the venom to find the target. Bipin Singh in the sixth minute and HFC's Akash Mishra in the 10th, both stood out for their respective sides but some good work by the defenses kept the score to 0-0 after the first 15 minutes of the first half.
The next couple of plays saw two great chances for the visitors. Raynier’s cross was called for off-side in the 15th minute, who once again was at the centre of action in the 16th after receiving a lovely break from Goddard.
Hyderabad's captain Aridane Santana became the first player to get booked as he caught Santana from behind. There was some excellent work at the defense from both sides and no real test for the goalkeepers in the major part of the first half.
Finally, it was Vignesh Dakshinamurthy who broke the deadlock in the 38th minute with a super strike. It was a crucial switch of play by Ahmed Jahouh towards Bipin Singh who touched it forward to Vignesh and he put Mumbai City FC on the scoresheet with a brilliant left-footed volley, his first-ever goal for the Islanders.
The Islanders' joy was about to fall short at the close-end of the first half. Yasir made a mess of a simple header in the 44th minute after receiving a beautiful cross from Mishra.
The start of the second half was no different than the first. Only this time around, Hyderabad had the first sight of the goal in the 48th minute from Poojary's cross, but it was dealt well by our captain Amrinder Singh.
Our boys kept things tight and denied any openings that were going to Hyderabad's way. Fall & Ranawade were the stars for Mumbai on most occasions when it was about keeping the danger away. Jahouh, on the other hand, was playing the role of the chief architect on most of the occasions as he always does.
The hosts made their first change of the match as they brought in Liston Colaco for Nikhil Poojary in the 53rd minute. But the undefeated Hyderabad side failed to create opportunities and most importantly the equaliser. The home side never came close 15 minutes inside the second half and such was the dominance of Sergio Lobera's boys on the night.
For the Islanders, it was all about making the most of any chances they get. One came in the 59th minute at the back of poor communication between two Hyderabad FC's players. Rowllin latched onto a loose pass and fed that to Adam Le Fondre, who had the best sight of the goal. Our lethal hitman wasn't going to miss one of those and found the back of the net as he scored his 5th goal of the season with a clean, low strike to double the lead for the Islanders.
There was no stopping Mumbai City as they were at the back of things on multiple occasions in the 66th minute. Bipin Singh created both chances, first for Cy Goddard who couldn't get the best connection with the header, followed by another one of his brilliant runs, this time to find le Fondre inside the box, but was cleared by Chinglensana Singh by the faintest of the connection.
Le Fondre had a golden chance to score his 2nd goal of the match in the 78th minute as he had only Subrata to beat, but our No. 9 couldn't find the target on that occasion with a delicate chip.
With the lead of two goals, Mumbai looked at doing different things and made a few tactical changes. Sergio Lobera made a triple change replacing Cy Goddard and Raynier Fernandes with Bartholomew Ogbeche and Farukh Choudhary. Amey Ranawade also made way for Mohammed Rakip. Tondonba Singh soon replaced the in-form Bipin Singh in the 83rd minute.
Looking for the opening in the 84th minute, Liston Colaco's dive inside Mumbai's penalty box didn't help the cause as he became the second booking of the match for Hyderabad FC for simulation. There was an injury concern for the host as Joao Victor's caught his knees in the ground in the 85th minute of the game but was back on feet moments later.
Vignesh Dakshinamurthy who had a memorable outing left the pitch in the 88th minute and was replaced by the 18-year old Vikram Partap Singh. The youngster nearly made an immediate impact with a mazy run and curling effort but it was just wide off the target.
Mumbai City kept the control going and didn't let the home side mount any serious danger in the closing moments of the night, keeping yet another clean-sheet for the Islanders, a fourth of the season.
While both sides were neck-and-neck on most occasions, it was the discipline from the attacking third that made the difference. A confident Sergio Lobera's Mumbai City FC side kept their position intact on top of the points table and will next face Kerala Blasters on 2nd January in the first game of 2021.