The defending champions Mumbai City FC's hopes of qualifying for the play-offs were put off by a spirited Hyderabad FC who edged the tie 2-1 in the final league game of the 2021/22 season.
The Islanders were placed fifth on the table as they walked into their final fixture of this campaign and needed a win tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive. Hyderabad FC, placed third on the points table prior to this game, had already secured their place in the semifinals.
After a jittery start, Mumbai City found their feet and grew into the game, passing the ball around well as Hyderabad sat back. However, the Islanders were finding it difficult to string together a move of forward passes.. Cassio Gabriel linked up nicely with Bipin Singh on the left flank to trouble the Hyderabad defence with a quick one-two in the 12th minute of the game.
The pendulum swung against the Islanders shortly after. Yasir’s corner was poorly dealt with as the ball fell to Souvik Chakrabarti whose shot was saved well by Phurba. Juanan snapped at the rebound with the deflection landing in Rohit Danu’s feet who made no mistake in tapping the ball into an empty net.
With cards stacked against them, Des Buckingham’s side tried to gain control of play and stepped up the tempo of the game. In the 17th minute of the game, Bipin Singh crossed in a good delivery from the right flank and Igor Angulo leaped up high to flick it goalwards but his header flew well wide.
Hyderabad continued to stay in the Islanders’ half and it paid off with just minutes to go in the first half. Yasir floated a long ball forward over the Islanders’ defence in the 41st minute of the game which found Joel Chianese, who failed to gather the ball. MCFC could not clear away the danger. Chianese readjusted quickly and slotted it through Phurba’s leg to double Hyderabad’s lead going into the break.
The second half begun with the Islanders’ on the offensive, having their task cut out. Des Buckingham’s side threatened going ahead with waves of attack but were failing in the final third. The boss rang in a triple change in the 55th minute with Brad, Vignesh and Diego replacing Vinit, Mandar and Igor. Amey was taken off soon after with Rakip coming off the bench and slotting in at right back.
The tide of the game turned slightly in the Islanders’ favour with 15 minutes to go. Cassio Gabriel swung in a delightful free kick and Mourtada Fall rose the highest to half the deficit and bring the game to 2-1. Raynier Fernandes was deployed in place of Vikram Partap with minutes to go as the Islanders chased the equaliser.
Even with their best efforts, the Islanders were unable to find the result needed to stay alive in the race for the top four spots in the table. The night ended with the scoreline 2-1 to Hyderabad as Mumbai City’s 2021/22 ISL campaign came to a close.