Mumbai City FC had yet another forgettable outing at the Fatorda Stadium as FC Goa beat the Islanders 5-2 on a disappointing night. The game had plenty of chances and along with a lot of yellow cards as both teams were fighting it out in full flow.
Rowllin Borges’ goal gave Jorge Costa and his boys the perfect start but FC Goa hit back with 3 goals in the first half through Ferran Corominas, Hugo Boumous and Jackichand Singh. Bipin Singh scored in the 57th minute to make it 3-2 but Coro’s second goal of the night and an unfortunate own-goal from Mohammed Rafique ensured a dominating 5-2 win for the home side.
FC Goa started off the game with more possession of the ball as Jorge Costa's men struggled early on and took their time to settle into the game. The first chance of the game fell to Ahmed Jahouh but his long-range effort was way over the bar.
For the visitors, Diego Carlos won a free-kick after showing some good footwork. From the resulting set-piece, Bipin Singh nearly tested Mohammad Nawaz but Mourtada Fall intervened with a clearing header.
Once again, the next chance for FC Goa involved midfielder Jahouh and once again, he went for goal from distance but this time his effort was straight into the hands of Amrinder Singh.
Soon after, in the 18th minute, MCFC struck first blood through Goan-born Borges. A long-ball across the field caused some trouble to FC Goa defence. Bipin headed it on to Subhasish who did well to control the ball and lay it off for Borges, who let one rip which took a deflection and into the next past Nawaz.
The lead, rather anticlimactically, didn’t stay for too long, FC Goa hit back through Coro in the 20th minute after Boumou’s header set up a simple finish for him after some appalling defensive miscommunication.
The Islanders were on the charge once again, this time Modou Sougou leading the attack. He got past Mourtada Fall and was clipped as well but the German referee Christian Dingert booked the forward wrongly for a dive.
Pratik Chaudhari was the next man to be booked after he fouled Coro and the referee’s decision didn’t please Jorge Costa on the touchline. In the 37th minute, Mato Grgic showed good composure to block Coro’s shot after the striker found some space in the box.
FC Goa turned up the ante with two quick goals in two minutes as Hugo Boumous headed home from a corner and Jackichand chipped the ball over an on-rushing Amrinder and past a couple of defenders on the line. MCFC nearly pulled one back at the stroke of half-time as Bidyananda Singh forced Nawaz into a stunning save. After 45 minutes of intense football, FC Goa led the Islanders 3-1.
The Islanders began the second half with intent. Diego Carlos had a couple of half-chances to reduce the deficit. In his first chance, he failed to hit the target and his second shot was blocked by the defender. Bidyananda was booked for a rash challenge on Boumous in the 49th minute and his midfield partner, Rowllin Borges was shown a yellow for a foul on Coro.
A few minutes later, Diego Carlos went for goal with his left foot but his effort was straight at Nawaz and he made a comfortable save. The Islanders weren’t giving FC Goa any time on the ball and the pressure paid off in the 57th minute. Borges’ latched onto a loose ball on the touchline before and he sent a cross across the goal where Bipin Singh finished it first-time with his right foot to make it 3-2.
Jackichand nearly scored in the next attack but his shot went wide off Amrinder’s far post before he was subbed for Seiminlen Doungel at the hour mark. At the other end, the Islanders nearly made it 3-3 with a couple of chances. First, Borges curling effort forced Nawaz into a good save. In the second chance, a cross from the left saw Sougou rise higher than his marker and head the ball towards goal, it was destined for goal but Nawaz reacted quickly to deny him.
Just as the pressure was getting back to FC Goa, they tried to slow down the pace of the game. Brandon Fernandes was booked for time-wasting in the 65th minute. The Islanders managed to have a little more of the ball but were unable to cause any damage in the final third.
A couple of injuries saw both sides into forced changes. Mandar Rao Dessai walked off with what looked like a muscle strain and was replaced by Saviour Gama for FC Goa. In the other camp, Bipin Singh clashed his head rather painfully with the man-mountain Mourtada Fall in an aerial challenge and sustained a cut on the head. He had to be replaced by Raynier Fernandes with a little over 15 minutes to go.
The frustration was showing on MCFC slowly with time running out and it got to the players as Mato Grgic was booked for a foul on Coro. In the 80th minute, Jorge Costa introduced Pranjal Bhumij for Bidyananda Singh, a second substitution on the night forced due to injury for Jorge Costa.
FC Goa scored their 4th goal in the 80th minute after Boumous and Coro combined for a good one-two as the Spaniard striker scored after getting behind Pratik Chaudhari. The night got worse for MCFC in the 87th minute, Lenny Rodrigues’ off-target shot hit Rafique and the ball went into the back of the net for a very unfortunate own goal.
In the end, the Islanders' resilience wasn't enough as the hosts ran out 5-2 winners. The Islanders had 8 shots on target as compared to FC Goa’s 6 which produced 5 goals. The Gaurs' superior finishing and Nawaz's heroics meant the scoreline told a different story.
The final away game of the season didn’t go as per plan for Jorge Costa and his boys as the Islanders remain on 26 points after 17 matches. The final league game will see the boys host Chennaiyin FC in a potential playoff six-pointer on 21st February at the Mumbai Football Arena.