Igor Angulo scored a brace, while Ygor Catatau scored a goal of his first touch as an Islander, as the defending champions Mumbai City opened their Indian Super League 2021/22 campaign with a 3-0 win over FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Monday. It was a solid start for the Islanders as they kicked off the Des Buckingham-era in style, picking up three points in the process.
FC Goa kicked off things in attacking mode as Lalhmangaihsanga received a golden opportunity to put his team ahead in the first minute itself. The cross from Alberto Noguera inside the box was headed in by the Goa defender, but it was a meek effort and the opportunity faded away.
With defensive stalwart Mourtada Fall leading Mumbai City’s troops, Mumbai pressed high on the pitch in the early minutes, not allowing the Gaurs any room to create spaces and create any danger for Mumbai.
Angulo, the Golden Boot winner of the 2020/21 season, got the first shot on target away for MCFC in the 10th minute of the match but a weak left-footed shot could only reach FC Goa Dheeraj Moirangthem who made a comfortable save.
A nervy moment followed for FC Goa as there were appeals for a penalty against FC Goa defender Leander D'Cunha as it appeared he made an unfair challenge on Mumbai City defender Vignesh Dakshinamurthy inside the box. But the referee signalled to continue the play and the Gaurs breathed a sigh of relief.
The challenge resulted in an injury to Dakshinamurthy, forcing MCFC to replace him with Mohamad Rakip in the 17th minute of the game. The intensity of the game picked up after the forced change as both teams tried to outplay the other.
Goa's Alexander Jesuraj received the first yellow of the match in the 27th minute for a rash challenge on Mumbai City midfielder Cassio Gabriel. Mumbai defender Ivan Gonzalez took down Gabriel six minutes later, resulting in MCFC receiving a penalty, which was converted by Igor Angulo giving his team a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute.
Three minutes later, Angulo doubled the lead with a precise cross from MCFC midfielder Raynier Fernandes, which the Spaniard collected from his left foot and hit past Dheeraj.
FC Goa tried to compose themselves after the twin strikes, but The Islanders picked up the momentum by the end of the first half, as a mistake from Goa defence almost allowed Raynier to add in a third goal. Unfortunately, the ball deflected off the sidebar.
FC Goa looked to get back on level pegging straightaway in the second half as the captain of the Gaurs, Edu Bedia took a shot from just outside the box in the 51st minute of the match which flew over the post. MCFC's Gabriel continued to threaten the home team's defence, as both the teams made substitutions to freshen up the players on the ground.
In the 73rd minute, MCFC made double substitutions, one of them being Ygor Catatau in place of Gabriel, who was easily the best player on the field in the second half. But Catatau made sure that he makes the most of the opportunity, and three minutes later, he added the third goal for his team.
Things started heating up in the final stages of the match as The Islanders started keeping possession, frustrating the Gaurs, who were unable to get any control on the proceedings. FC Goa received a free kick in the 87th minute but nothing came off it, and despite the referee giving four additional minutes, the final few minutes saw little drama.
Barring a poor shot in the injury time by Edu, Goa did not make any threats to get a goal back and the match ended with a big win for Mumbai City.
Mumbai City will next face off against Hyderabad FC on Saturday, 27 November in a 9.30PM kick off at the Fatorda.