Mumbai City FC secured a thrilling 2-1 victory over Jamshedpur FC away from home, thanks to a late smash and grab that was inspired by an in-form Chhangte. They showed an excellent fighting spirit in the last 10 minutes to edge past the Red Miners in this game.
Des Buckingham made two changes to the starting eleven that won against NorthEast United FC at home. Sanjeev Stalin and Mandar Rao Dessai replaced Rahul Bheke and Vinit Rai respectively in the fullback positions. Phurba started in goal; Mourtada Fall partnered Mehtab Singh in central defence. The prodigious Apuia Ralte partnered the creative Ahmed Jahouh and the influential Greg Stewart in midfield. The Islanders had the electric duo of Lallianzuala Chhangte on the right and Bipin Singh on the left wing in attack. Jorge Pereyra Diaz was leading the line for the Islanders against Jamshedpur FC.
Mumbai City started the game on the front foot as they were looking to control the possession. They were doing so with ease in the opening exchanges of the game as they were pushing Jamshedpur FC back into their own half.
The Islanders carved out the first clear chance of the game in the 7th minute of the game. Bipin was found in space on the left flank by a long ball. He controlled the ball well and drove towards the Red Miners goal. He cut the ball back inside to an unmarked Greg Stewart who dummied past an on-coming defender to make space for himself. Greg tried curling the ball beyond the keeper into the net but failed to get a clean contact on the ball as the ball went wide off the target.
In the 10th minute the Islanders threatened to open the scoring. Greg received the ball in the box from Chhangte on the right. He tried chipping the ball towards Bipin in space on the other side of the box. The ball deflected off a Jamshedpur FC defender and found its way to Bipin. He then put in a smart ball into Diaz Pereyra at the front post who had sneaked in front of his marker and brought the ball under his spell. He tried chipping the ball over a sliding Rehenesh who brought the Argentine down but a penalty was not awarded.
Jamshedpur FC started growing into the game as they were sitting deep and looking counter with the physicality of Sawyer and Chukwu. In the 15th minute of the game Chukwu found Ritvik Dance on the flank with a smart ball. Ritwik carried the ball to the edge of the box and unleashed a powerful shot but it was straight at Phurba, who caught the ball comfortably. The scores read 0-0 as both teams were looking for the first goal of the game.
The next chance of the game broke the way of the Islanders in the 24th minute of the game. Greg ran with the ball on the right flank and played a smart through ball to Chhnagte, who had made his way inside the box from the right side. The Islanders number 7 then played in grounded crosses towards the centre but the ball was caught by Rehenesh before it could reach an unmarked Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
In the 28th minute of the game, Jamshedpur FC got a chance from a long throw-in. Jay-Thomas tossed the ball into the box from the right. But the ball was cleared away by Apuia Ralte.
Attacking set-pieces were coming thick and fast for the Red Miners as they were doing well to stop Mumbai City FC to dictate play. They were also cleverly looking to carve out chances every opportunity they got.
In the 36th minute of the game the Islanders carved out a superb chance. After Jahouh nicked the ball off of Ritwik in midfield and he played it to Greg ahead of him. Greg played an incisive through ball to Chhangte in space on the right side of the box. The in-form winger dummied to make space and get his shot away, which went just past the far post. The scores still read 0-0 as the game was finely poised heading towards the half-time whistle.
In the 42nd of the game, Jamshedpur FC got the next chance of the game. Jay-Thomas put in a dangerous ball in from a corner from the right side. Chukwu headed the ball into the net but the referee pulled the play back for a foul by Sawyer on Apuia Ralte in the box. Jamshedpur FC looked threatening from set pieces.
Soon after the referee blew for half-time as Jamshedpur FC had done really well to keep Mumbai City FC’s prolific attackers in check. The scores read 0-0 and the game was finely balanced going into the halftime break.
Once the second half resumed, Jamshedpur FC looked more comfortable on the ball as Mumbai City FC started the second period slowly.
The first chance of the second half came the way of Jamshedpur FC in the 53rd minute of the game. Pranoy made his way forward with the ball from the right flank. He unleashed a venomous shot from the edge of the box which was deflected over the bar by the fingertips of Phurba as he was making sure the Islanders do not go a goal down.
The next chance of the game came the way of the Islanders in the 56th minute of the game. A smooth passing move by Mumbai City FC found its way to Pereyra Diaz in space on the right flank. He played a superb ball inside towards Chhangte who had made his way inside the box. Chhangte did well to bring the ball under his spell but was closed down by Rehenesh expertly who got his block in to deny Chhangte his 9th goal of the season. The scores still read 0-0 as the Islanders were desperately looking for a goal to take the lead.
Soon after however, the Red Miners went into the lead thanks to a goal by Boris in the 63rd minute of the game. Boris made a marauding run forward beyond Chukwu on the right flank and was found by Jay-Thomas who played a smart ball to him. He dummied past Mehtab Singh to slot the ball inside the goal at the near post from a tight angle inside the box, as Jamshedpur FC were leading the game 1-0.
Coach Buckingham looked to change up his midfield after going a goal down. He made a triple substitution to tweak things tactically in the 68th. He brought off Jahouh, Apuia and Greg for Rostyn Griffiths, Vikram Partap Singh and Alberto Nogeura respectively. Chhangte shifted into the position right behind Jorge Pereyra Diaz as Vikram shifted to wing. Rostyn and Noguera were playing as a double pivot ahead of the Islanders’ backline.
Buckingham’s tweaks were having an instant impact Mumbai City FC started dictating the tempo of the game. He made another change soon after in the 73rd minute as he brought on Vignesh for Mandar Rao.
Mumbai City FC equalised soon after in the 80th minute of the game. Vignesh had an instant impact as he played Bipin in space on the left-flank. The record scorer for the Islanders then carried the ball forward towards the byline from the left and played an accurate ball along the floor towards centre in space for an on-rushing Chhangte. He kept his cool and calmly slotted the ball past Rehenesh first time to make it 1-1.
A frantic end to the game was in order as the Islanders had found a way back into the game. Aidy Boothroyd, expecting the same, made two changes in the 83rd minute of the game. He brought on Ishan Pandita and Rafael Crivellaro for Sawyer and Chukwu respectively.
Mumbai City FC players looked resilient to extend their unbeaten run in the league and were piling the pressure on the Red Miners,who were finding it hard to cope with the Islanders in the dying embers of the game.
In the 86th minute of the game the Islanders scored their second of the game and took the lead in the game for the first time.Noguera found Chhangte in a pocket of space ahead of the Red Miners defence. He turned and played a smart ball in space for Vikram Partap Singh,who tried playing a ball into the centre towards Diaz. But he miss-hit his cross and the ball floated above Rehenesh and went in at the back-post as the Islanders led the game 2-1.
In the 87th minute Des Buckingham made a substitution to better manage the game. He brought off Chhangte for Rowlin Borges to see the game out.
The Islanders managed the last five minutes of the game as they were not surrendering possession to Jamshedpur FC. Soon after the game ended 2-1 in favour of the Islanders as they had extended their undefeated run in the league. They also secured three crucial points as they will face chasing Hyderabad FC in the next game on the 4th of February at the Mumbai Football Arena, the game will kick-off at 7.30pm IST.