Mumbai City made it three wins out of three in Group B with a 4-0 win against the Indian Navy FT at the VYBK. The Islanders ran out comfortable winners, thanks to goals from Jorge Pereyra Díaz and Greg Stewart along with maiden Mumbai City FC goals for young Gurkirat Singh and Nathan Rodrigues.

Starting XI: Phurba Lachenpa, Rahul Bheke (c), Yoëll van Nieff, Mehtab Singh, Apuia, Alberto Noguera, Vikram Partap Singh, Bipin Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Greg Stewart, Jorge Pereyra Díaz.

As they so often do, the Islanders kicked off proceedings on the front foot. The midfield slowly assumed control as Greg was fouled on the edge of the box in the 5th minute. The Scotsman stood over the freekick but took a tame, low effort as it came off the wall.

The first big chance of the afternoon came shortly after in the 10th minute. Bipin Singh was through down the left who put in a cross for Díaz. The ball evades the on rushing Argentine and falls for Vikram whose shot is cleared off the line. The melee continued as the clearance went straight into the path of Bipin but he skies his shot.

The onslaught continued in the 17th minute, once again down the left as Bipin’s cross into the box fell to Noguera. The Spaniard set himself up and unleashed a curling effort past Vishnu but his effort was headed off the goalline.

The chances kept coming, this time for Lallianzuala Chhangte in the 22nd minute. Noguera found the run of Chhangte who did ever so well to beat the offside trap with his run but could not get his shot past Vishnu in the Indian Navy goal.

It was encore in the very next minute as Apuia’s driven pass towards Stewart is let go by the Scot into the path of Chhangte. Vishnu, as he has been all evening, remained strong in goal and kept out Chhangte’s shot with a fine save.

The Indian Navy FT enjoyed short purple patches with the ball but a patient build up by the Islanders in the 34th minute was the undoing for the Services’ side. The Islanders kept their composure on the ball as Greg Stewart found Bipin’s run down the left who typically drilled in a cross towards Diaz who fired it into the back of the net to put Des Buckingham’s side 1-0 ahead.

Mumbai City could have scored a second goal in as many minutes as Diaz was through on goal. The Argentine rounded the Indian Navy goalkeeper and tried to find Bipin inside the box but his cross was crowded out and cleared.

The Islanders were disallowed yet another goal in the 36th minute, this time to the misfortune of Rahul Bheke. Greg Stewart played out a short corner which was played back to him. Stewart fired in a cross which was tapped in by Bheke but the ball had crossed the line before Greg’s cross in.

The referee soon blew for half time as the Islanders entered the tunnel with a 1-0 lead thanks to Jorge Pereyra Díaz’s clinical finish. Des Buckingham made a change at the start of the second half as Sanjeev Stalin replaced Vikram Partap Singh.

Both sides made a cautious start to the second half as the Islanders slowly asserted their dominion on the proceedings. Noguera, who had put in yet another strong shift in midfield, found Chhangte down the right on the hour mark who fed it into Diaz but the Argentine could not get to the end of the cross under pressure from the Indian Navy defender.

However, an encore would pay off just two minutes later. Noguera was tackled hard in midfield but the Spaniard rode the challenge and found Chhangte bearing down the right. The Mizo forward floated in a delighful cross into the box and Greg Stewart rose highest in a crowd of Indian Navy defenders as he headed it to put Mumbai City 2-0 up.

It was an afternoon of disallowed goals for Des Buckingham’s side, this time in the 65th minute – Greg Stewart found Bipin down the left who dinked it over the goalkeeper for Chhangte to tap it in but the flag was raised on the far side for Bipin’s early run.

Luck continued to evade Chhangte, this time in the 67th minute. Noguera’s ball was flicked on by Greg for Chhangte whose shot was saved by Vishnu and the rebound was bundled in by Díaz but the Mizo forward was adjudged to be marginally offside.

Des Buckingham rang in two more changes in the 71st minute to freshen things up. Gurkirat Singh jogged on to replace Jorge Pereyra Diaz and young 18-year-old Nathan Rodrigues came on to make his Mumbai City FC debut replacing Rahul Bheke.

It did not take long for Des Buckingham’s substitutions to bear fruit. Gurkirat Singh played a slick give-and-go with Greg who found Gurkirat’s run as the 20-year old forward fired the ball in past the goalkeeper for his first goal in Mumbai City FC colours to make it 3-0 for the Islanders.

The 82nd minute marked another debut, this time for 18-year-old Franklin Nazareth who came on to replace Greg Stewart along with Vinit Rai who replaced Alberto Noguera.

There was a bit of disruption in play in the 86th minute as Van Nieff was caught in the face with a flailing elbow and left with a bleeding nose. The referee, however, shockingly chose to show Van Nieff the yellow card for showing his displeasure.

Stoppage time rung in as the Islanders were looking to see out the game, this time through a well strung move that started with Van Nieff in defence, through Nathan and Franklin and out wide to Chhangte who found Vinit Rai’s run down the right wing whose cross was blocked away for a corner. Van Nieff stepped up for corner duties and floated in his corner towards Mehtab who headed it down for Nathan Rodrigues who fired it home from point blank range to make it 4-0. A moment to remember indeed for young Nathan who marks his club debut with a goal.

The referee called time on the proceedings as Mumbai City ran out comfortable 4-0 winners against a resilient Indian Navy side. Mumbai City will now wait to learn their fate in the Quarterfinals of the 2023 Durand Cup with the draw scheduled to take place after the culmination of the Group Stage on August 22nd.