Mumbai City FC went down fighting 3-2 against Jamshedpur FC on Thursday night. The match was set up to be a fiery one, as both sides came into the fixture having lost only one of their past five games.
Both coaches made no changes to the line-up from their previous games.
The game started brazenly, with Jamshedpur having the upper-hand. They came close to scoring in the first minute itself, when Boris tried to head in Ricky’s cross which ended up rattling the crossbar.
It didn’t take long for the Men of Steel to score though, with only 8 minutes on the clock, they found the net through Greg Stewart. It was a throw-in down the right, which was moved into the box by Jitu. Boris squared the ball, and Ritwik laid it off for Stewart to run on to. The Scotsman was left unmarked and finished it promptly with only the keeper to beat.
The Islanders endured some more hardship, when Ahmed Jahouh sustained an injury due to Pronay Halder’s follow through. Strangely, it was Jahouh who was shown yellow despite clearly winning the ball. The talismanic #10 tried to play on, but eventually had to be substituted in the 16th minute for Vinit Rai.
Mumbai pushed on, and made some half chances in the following minutes. Apuia linked up with a few team-mates, and eventually played it to Bheke down the right. The defender found Chhangte, who dribbled into the box, but was tackled. The loose ball fell to Bipin in the half-space, and his attempt ended up testing the ‘keeper.
Despite all the positive efforts from Des Buckingham’s side, it was once again Jamshedpur who found the net. Their second came just short of the half-hour mark, and once again started from a throw-in down the right. Boris looped the ball over Mehtab to Chukwu who steamed towards the goal-line and cut it back. Ritwik Das was at the end of it, and tapped it in for a comfortable 2-0.
The game slowly started to settle, as Jamshedpur were more than happy to retain their lead, while Mumbai were still finding their feet. Towards the end of the first half, both teams had a chance each.
Jamshedpur got one in the 43rd minute, when a long ball by Nawaz was intercepted by Ricky. He played it directly into Stewart, who threaded a great through ball for Chukwu. Fortunately, our custodian had his area covered, and denied the Nigerian any joy.
Mumbai’s chance came in the 46th minute, through some direct play. Fall went long, and Cassio won the second ball in Jamshedpur’s third. He played a short pass to Vinit, who chipped it in for Angulo. El Matador went for his classic headed flick, but his attempt was off-target.
The Islanders entered the second half with a different approach to the game, and two new changes. Brad Inman came in for Vinit Rai, and Vignesh was brought in for Mandar Rao Dessai.
This came into good effect, as Mumbai started the second half with a burning urgency. There was a hunger to come back into the game, and it was made evident in the 54th minute. Mehtab Singh ran into midfield, and took his time to pick out a brilliant line-breaking pass. Igor Angulo curved his run inwards to meet the ball, and was through. His shot was saved by the TP Rehenesh, but the ball floated to Rahul Bheke, who side-footed it into goal.
The deficit reduced, and confidence started to come back. Play after play, Mumbai grew into the game and started to stamp their authority. In the 68th minute, a golden opportunity was presented to the Islanders.
Peter Hartley swung his arm into Fall’s face while defending a cross, and the Islanders were awarded a penalty. Hartley also received a booking. Igor Angulo stood over the spot-kick, and decided to go down the middle. Rehenesh got his leg to it, and the Spaniard’s perfect penalty record in the ISL was thwarted. Chhangte reacted quickly and got a shot off but that too, was saved by the goalie.
In the 77th minute, our final two substitutions were made. Diego Mauricio and Vikram Partap went on for Igor Angulo and Bipin Singh.
Our youngster Vikram was a livewire from the moment he stepped on the field. Only 2 minutes in, he had an appeal for winning a penalty. He received the ball in the box and flicked it over Ricky. He was obstructed by the defender, but the referee deemed it to be fair.
The penalty did come though, but through Hartley once again committing a foul. In the 83rd minute, the Jamshedpur captain shoved into Mauricio from behind as the Brazilian went to head in a cross. This time, the ball hit the net. Diego Mauricio got off the mark for us, ironically, with a penalty down the middle.
Right when it seemed that the match would end in a 2-2 draw, Jamshedpur FC got an opportunity out of thin air. Vignesh D was penalized for committing a handball, while trying to control Mehtab Singh’s clearance. A penalty was awarded, and Stewart smashed it in to give his side the lead.
A tough result to take, and with a potential injury to deal with, we now find ourselves 5th on the table, only a point off the top 4. Our next game comes on the 22nd, as we return to the Fatorda to take on SC East Bengal.