Fresh off writing a piece of Indian football history, Mumbai City are preparing for Matchday 3 of their 2022 AFC Champions League campaign. The Islanders are back at the King Fahd International Stadium tonight as Des Buckingham’s side take on UAE’s Al Jazira in a Group B tie kicking off at 8:15 PM AST (10:45PM IST).
Valuable lessons were learnt when Mumbai City stepped out onto the pitch for the first time at the AFC Champions League on April 8, suffering a 3-0 defeat to Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab. Those lessons stayed. Just three days later, the Islanders would go on to do something no Indian club had ever done before – win a game in the AFC Champions League Group Stage.
The Islanders went toe to toe with a supremely competitive Air Force Club when the two sides met 72 hours ago. Des Buckingham’s side had visibly built on the attacking intent they showed in their Group B opener as Mumbai City started off strongly. Both sides could have had the ball in the back of the net on multiple occasions as the half time whistle went with the deadlock yet to be broken. Close to the hour mark, the Iraqi side capitalized on a defensive mix up by the Islanders allowing Hammadi Ahmad to put his side in the lead. Just over ten minutes later, Diego Maurício took matters into his own hands but his marauding run was hacked down inside the box. The Brazilian earned and scored the penalty, scoring Mumbai City’s first ever goal in Asia’s premier club competition and bringing back his side on level terms.
The comeback was complete just 5 minutes later. Ahmed Jahouh’s delightful corner, coupled with Rahul Bheke’s fine movement inside the box allowed the Mumbai lad to nod his hometown team into a 2-1 lead. The final 15 minutes saw the Air Force Club side throw the kitchen sink at the Islanders but to no effect. Mumbai City ran out winners, scripting a piece of Indian footballing history that will be remembered for years to come.
Al Jazira Club, based out of Abu Dhabi, are one of UAE football’s powerhouses. The Emirati side are three time UAE Pro League champions, most recently winning the honour in the 2020-21 campaign which secured their participation for the 2022 AFC Champions League.
Managed by Dutch coach Marcel Kaizer, Al Jazira came into the 2022 edition of the AFC Champions League off the back of an eight-game unbeaten run in domestic competitions. However, the UAE-based side are yet to get off the mark at the continental stage after two defeats in two to Air Force Club and Al Shabab.
Who Said What
Des Buckingham: It's a game we are looking forward to. It's our third game in the space of 8 days. So it has been important for the players to get all the rest and recovery they need. But we are now in a good space. We have the majority of the squad available to us.
Mandar Rao Dessai: It’s not a surprise (the win against Air Force). We have been preparing well for days. If you see, we performed well against Al Shabab as well and we took the positives into our second game.
Where To Watch
The game will kick off at 8:15 PM AST (10:45 PM IST) and will be broadcast on the Star Sports 3, Disney+ Hotstar, and Jio TV for all viewers in India. For our global fans, you can find your local broadcaster at https://www.the-afc.com/en/club/afc_champions_league/where_to_watch.html or follow all the action LIVE on our official Twitter account - @MumbaiCityFC.