Adam le Fondre's spot-kick deep into injury time in the 95th minute helped the Islanders register their first win of the season and the first win of the Sergio Lobera-era against FC Goa in the 2020-21 ISL.
Lobera made four changes to the starting eleven. Mourtada Fall, Cy Goodard, Amey Ranawade and Farukh Choudhary came in for Ahmed Jahouh, Raynier Fernandes, Mohamad Rakip, and Bartholomew Ogbeche.
FC Goa too made three changes as Saviour Gama, Alberto Noguera, and Redeem Tiang came in for Sanson Periera, Jorge Ortiz, and Princeton Rebello in the starting XI.
Both teams, as many would have expected, played an attacking and an open game football right from the off. But it was FC Goa that had the first goal-scoring opportunity with Igor Angulo, who had a real shot at goal from a close range but was blocked & only managed a corner.
FC Goa looked promising on multiple occasions in defence. First, it was Mandar Rao Dessai’s cross that was intercepted followed by Farukh Chaudhary's in the 13th minute after an excellent first touch not far from the goal post.
The Gaurs were charging more often but it was a see-saw battle at the pitch to win the ball. As a result, three yellow cards were shown in space of less than 8 minutes. Sarthak Golui, Seriton Fernandes and Mandar Rao Dessai were the players on the receiving end.
In the 40th min of the first-half, FC Goa's Redeem Tlang was shown a straight red card for a dangerous two-footed tackle on Hernan Santana. It was an advantage for Mumbai City in the closing phase of the first half as they created more chances. FC Goa kept it tight as they held the scoreline 0-0 at the end of the first half.
Igor Angulo kept the pressure going for FC Goa at the start of the second half and made a great run but couldn't find enough support at the far post. Mumbai City too created a few chances only to find FC Goa's two centre backs in Donachie and Gonzalez.
A very close goal-scoring moment for the Islanders came in the 53rd minute when Le Fondre charged and closed down the goalkeeper and Nawaz got lucky as his clearance hit the striker's arm for a free kick.
Alfie's commitment was inspiring the forwards. But it was Amrinder who stole the show. Our captain made two brilliant saves in space of one minute to deny FC Goa the lead.
FC Goa made their second change in the 62nd minute as Jorge Ortiz came in for Igor Angulo. Amey Ranawade was given a yellow card for a foul on Noguera. Despite a man down, FC Goa were doing well to hold MCFC at 0-0.
In a desperate attempt to put more pressure, Sergio brought a few fresh legs as he made a triple change in the 72nd minute of the game. Ogbeche, Vignesh D, Rakip came in for Farukh, Fall, Ranawade.
Mumbai City kept at it and in the 75th minute they had the best of the opportunities as Adam le Fondre’s cross found Mandar in the box, who did not connect well and ended up flashing his effort over the bar.
The Islanders weren't short of goal-scoring opportunities as Rakip managed to find Le Fondre inside the penalty box in the 79th minute but the Englishman's curling effort was caught by Nawaz.
Le Fondre was all over Goa's defense. In the 88th minute he managed to keep the ball in play with a brilliant header but it was too far from Bartholomew Ogbeche for him to finish it. There was no stopping our number 9 as he soon followed it with another good piece of work with a shot on target but it was straight to the FC Goa's goalkeeper.
There was late drama at the Fatorda stadium with substitute Bipin’s header hitting the arms of Lenny Rodrigues in the box.
Alfie’s moment finally came in the 95th minute with a thunderous penalty as he found the back of the net to put Mumbai City FC on the scoresheet and a well-deserved three points against FC Goa for Sergio Lobera against his former side.
A short break and we'll be up against East Bengal on December 1 for our first designated home game of the season. A lot of work to do, but the Islanders will celebrate the three points tonight.