Mumbai City FC 6-1 Kerala Blasters FC
A rampant performance from the Islanders led by Modou Sougou’s 4 historic goals along with a goal apiece from Rafael Bastos and Matias Mirabaje saw Jorge Costa’s boys beat Kerala Blasters by 6-1. Seiminlen Doungel scored the lone goal for the away side as their poor form continued.
The game started on a pacey note for the Islanders. Arnold Issoko was set free on the right flank via a lovely through ball by local boy, Raynier Fernandes. The winger took his time before delivering a low-cross that evaded an unmarked Modou Sougou in the box. That probably was a statement of things to come on a memorable night.
At the other end, KBFC had a good opening as Courage Pekuson broke the offside trap but put his shot wide off the goal with Amrinder doing well to put him under pressure. It didn’t take long for the Islanders to take the lead, a quick free-kick from Bastos in the 12th minute put Machado on his own down the left side, the Portuguese midfielder sent in a cross that was eventually turned in by Sougou.
Three minutes later, a mistake from Dheeraj Singh led to a second goal for the Islanders. Modou Sougou collected a short pass from Raynier before scoring a screamer of a goal to double up his account for the night. In the process, he also tied Sunil Chhetri’s and Everton Santos’ record as the club’s leading goal scorer on 7 goals. The boys were in full mood to extend the lead and continue the good work early on as Arnold Issoko saw his chipped shot go past the goal with Dheeraj way off his line.
The away side slowly found their rhythm to pull one goal back in the 27th minute courtesy of Len Doungel’s effort that beat Amrinder Singh in goal. It seemed that the fightback was on from KBFC but Sougou possibly killed the tie at the half an hour mark. Subhasish Bose put in a teasing cross from the left and the striker reacted first to head the ball home for an astonishing 18-minute hat-trick.
The first half ended with some drama as former Islander, Zakeer Mundampara got his marching orders for his second yellow card of the night. The first offence was a late challenge on Arnold Issoko and the second one being a nasty foul on Rafael Bastos. The Islanders went into the break with a 3-1 lead and against a 10-men KBFC side.
After displaying some brilliant football in the first 45 minutes, the boys began the next 45 minutes in a similar fashion. Arnold combined with Sougou with yet another impressive cross but the header from hat-trick hero was off target. In the only upset of the night, Joyner Lourenco had to be replaced by Anwar Ali in what seemed an injury that couldn’t let him carry on.
At the stroke of the hour, Modou Sougou latched onto a poor backpass and round the goalkeeper but unfortunately his effort hit the side netting. He was inching closer and closer to increasing his tally of 3 goals in the game. The pace of the game slowed down for the next 10 minutes or so with KBFC happy to not concede more and trying to keep more of the ball.
But, they couldn’t keep it that way for too long. In the 70th minute, Rafael Bastos joined the goal scoring party with an impressive goal from a good 25 yards out that saw him move onto 3 goals this campaign. He was replaced a couple of minutes later by Matias Mirabaje who had 15-20 minutes to make an impact.
KBFC captain, Sandesh Jhingan almost turned the ball into his own net but Dheeraj made a quick reaction save to spare the blushes for the centre-back. Substitute, Mirabaje took matters into own his hands before unleashing an unstoppable shot from distance to score his first goal for the Islanders and the fifth of the evening.
In the last minute of stoppage time, Modou Sougou put the icing on the cake by scoring a goal into an empty net thanks to another defensive error by the KBFC defence, probably the easiest he would have ever scored in his career. He ended with 4 goals on the night and broke a few records in a phenomenal performance by becoming the first player to score 4 goals in a single game and most importantly, becoming the all-time top scorer in the history of the club with 9 goals to his name.
The Islanders ended the year on a high by extending their unbeaten run to 8 games and moving on to 24 points after 12 games with a goal difference of +8. To summarize the first phase of the 2018-19 Season, it was an incredible team effort from Jorge Costa and his boys to inch closer to a play-off spot.