The Islanders suffer their first defeat under Des Buckingham, going down 1-3 to Hyderabad FC.
Mumbai City FC went down 3-1 to Hyderabad FC, after a spirited comeback from the Nizams at the Fatorda. The result was the Islanders’ first ever defeat under Des Buckingham, and Hyderabad’s first ever win against MCFC.
Mumbai City made only one change from their previous starting XI, opting to bring in Mohamad Rakip in place of Vignesh D. Meanwhile Hyderabad FC swapped out Edu Garcia and Halicharan Narzary for Joel Chianese and Aniket Jadhav.
The game got off to a fiery start, as Hyderabad showed intent within the first minute – winning a corner through the first play of the game
However, it was Mumbai who drew first blood in the 5th minute. Ahmed Jahouh netted his first ever goal for the Islanders, after latching on to a deflection. A deft first touch saw him beat the surrounding crowd of defenders, which set him up to smash it home against Lakshmikant Kattimani.
Hyderabad responded within 7 minutes, winning a penalty as Joel Chianese was brought down by Bipin Singh in the box. The captain, Joao Victor buried the spot kick into the bottom right corner, past Nawaz’s outstretched hands.
The game went on in an intense and disruptive fashion till the drinks break, with either side working hard to rob the other of possession. Both teams played with verve and pep, which went down a couple notches after the half hour mark.
After knocking on the door a couple times, Mumbai City nearly scored from a corner towards the end of the first half. Rahul Bheke’s header fell fortuitously close to Kattimani, who palmed it away. Raynier tried to head the rebound in, but was denied by Joao Victor inches right in front of the goal-line. The Islanders went into the tunnel with the better share of possession, and twice as many shots as Hyderabad.
The second half saw a similar amount of energy, as two Hyderabad players went into the referee’s book within the first 3 minutes. Hitesh Sharma was penalized for a clumsy lunge on Apuia, and Chinglensana Singh was shown yellow for holding back Bipin after being beaten for pace.
Bart Ogbeche put the Nizams in front in the 52nd minute, by getting on the scoresheet against his former side. A turnover in Mumbai’s half saw Hitesh Sharma pick out Aniket Jadhav in space, whose cutback was tucked away by the Nigerian ace. A muted celebration followed, but the damage had been done.
Mumbai reacted quickly, choosing to make a substitution just short of the hour mark. Ygor Catatau came on for his Brazilian compatriot Cassio Gabriel. Three other substitutions followed in the subsequent 10 minutes. Hyderabad brought on Rohit Danu for Aniket Jadhav and Edu Garcia for Joel Chianese.
Time ebbed away, and the pressure to equalize grew gradually. The second water break allowed Des Buckingham to rally his troops and come up with a game-plan, which came into effect almost immediately. A trademark Rahul Bheke long throw caused confusion among the Hyderabad defense, and ended up finding Rowllin Borges in front of a gaping goal. Unfortunately for the home side, the shot was side-footed wide.
In cruel irony, history repeated itself at the other end. A throw-in from Hyderabad led to confusion in the Mumbai defense over an alleged foul. While the defenders expected the whistle to go, Rohit Danu made the most of his opportunity and blazed it past Mohamed Nawaz to make it 3-1.
The final 10 minutes saw sky blue shirts pour forward in numbers to reduce the deficit, but unfortunately to no avail. The Hyderabad defense held steady against half-chances and seeking through balls, denying any discernible opportunities.
After a frustrating night, Mumbai find themselves fourth on the table, with three points. They will look to defend their title against current table-toppers ATK Mohun Bagan in an away game on the 1st of December.