Mumbai City FC cruised to a 4-1 win over Odisha FC on 13th February, Sunday at Fatorda. Braces from Igor Angulo and Bipin Singh downed the visitors.
Building on our previous victory against Chennaiyin FC, Des Buckingham made no changes to the line-up. His counterpart, Kino Garcia made 3 changes. Thoiba Singh, Nandha Kumar and Hector Rodas started in place of Aridai, Paul R and Gaurav Bora.
The Islanders showed their dominance from the very beginning – with Cassio making a darting run into the box. Hector Rodas barged into him from behind, and sent him down. Despite there being clear contact off the ball, the referee decided to play on.
Once again, a stonewall penalty was denied in the 9th minute. Jahouh played his wide free-kick short to Chhangte, who looked to send the ball into the box. The ball struck a jumping Nandha Kumar, whose arm was in an unnatural position. All appeals for a penalty were ignored by referee M Senthil Nathan, who failed to award a penalty to the Islanders on three occasions against SC East Bengal earlier in the season as well.
In the 15th minute, Odisha got their first chance of the game. Javi Hernandez latched on to a loose ball in midfield. He pulled the trigger, but the ball sailed over the goalframe.
Javi came up once more in the 32nd minute, this time making inroads into our box. He played the ball back to Jerry, who was waiting outside the area. His shot was well timed, and on target, but Nawaz was alert and pulled off a great save.
In the 40th minute, Igor Angulo opened the floodgates. A throw-in from the left was worked well from one wing to the other. Rahul Bheke put in a perfectly placed cross from deep, and our #17 took the opportunity with hands wide open. He ghosted in between the defenders and headed the ball perfectly into the bottom left corner.
Before the break, Cassio Gabriel picked up a yellow card for a tactical foul.
The team came out even stronger in the second 45, dominating possession and attacking all the right spaces. An 18-pass move came to an end when Apuia tried to dink the ball into the box. His effort was headed away meekly and Jahouh picked up the ball in their third. He played a quick through ball to Bipin, who wrong-footed Arshdeep and found the net. 2-0 to the Islanders.
Odisha were quick to react, making a double switch in the 53rd minute. Hector Rodas and Nandha came off for Gaurav Bora and Aridai Cabrera.
At the hour mark, a third appeal for a penalty was not given. A well-worked corner by Jahouh, Chhangte and Cassio saw us get a shot off inside their box. The shot was blocked and the ball bobbled to Angulo, who was brought down by Jerry. An incensed reaction followed, which the referee promptly turned away from.
Four minutes later, Lalruatthara was booked for persistent fouling. The free-kick led to a counter for Odisha which saw them work the ball all the way into our box. The play ended with Thoiba flicking a ball on for Jonathas, which he headed right into Nawaz’s hands.
The Islanders racked up their third and fourth in quick succession after this. The 3rd came in the 69th minute. The ball was knocked around in midfield, until Cassio decided to spray it out to Bipin on the left. Our #29 showed some quick feet, and cut in, and played the ball through to Angulo. El Matador feinted, sitting a defender down and then toe poked it past Arshdeep into the inside of the right post - beautiful finish, which brought Angulo’s goal tally to double digits.
Bipin Singh was quick to join in the act only 3 minutes after this. Cassio Gabriel made a silky run down the left, getting into the box seamlessly. He sent in a low cross, which was blocked. Bipin pounced and rifled it past the ‘keeper to make it 4-0.
In the following minutes, both teams made some more substitutions. Daniel Lalhlimpuia came in for Javi Hernandez for Odisha. For Mumbai, Vikram Partap, Vinit Rai, Gurkirat Singh and Brad Inman came in for Igor Angulo, Ahmed Jahouh, Bipin Singh and Cassio Gabriel.
The substitutes looked lively, even spurning a chance of their own late into the game. Vikram Partap sent in a great cross into the box, much like Rahul Bheke from earlier. Unfortunately, Gurkirat’s shot was off target.
Raynier Fernandes came on for Lallianzuala Chhangte soon after this.
Odisha FC showed some energy late in the second half, getting a couple of chances right before the 90th minute. Aridai’s shot from inside the box was blocked well, and sent out for a corner in the 88th minute. However, just a minute later we conceded.
The ball was worked out wide by Odisha, and was played into Jonathas who was outside our box. He took a shot, which beat Nawaz and offered the Kalinga Warriors some respite.
The result sees us extend our unbeaten run to 4 games, and move into the top 4. Our next game is a heavyweight clash against Jamshedpur FC on the 17th, which will be played at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim.