Mumbai City FC made it two wins out of two in Group B of the 2023 Durand Cup as Des Buckingham’s side comfortably put aside Jamshedpur FC with a 5-0 win at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan earlier today. Jorge Pereyra Díaz netted a brace inside the first quarter of an hour and was joined on the scoresheet by Alberto Noguera, Yoëll van Nieff and Vikram Partap Singh.
Starting XI: Phurba Lachenpa, Rahul Bheke (c), Mehtab Singh, Yoëll van Nieff, Valpuia, Apuia, Alberto Noguera, Greg Stewart, Vikram Partap Singh, Bipin Singh, Jorge Pereyra Díaz.
Mumbai City kicked off with the possession of the ball but the young colts of Jamshedpur found the first chance of the evening in the very first minute. A misplaced pass in midfield allowed Jamshedpur’s forward through on goal and took a shot from distance and forced a good save from Phurba who was a little way off his line.
The Islanders were slowly getting into their groove, making forward surges. Apuia’s forward run was halted as the Mizo midfielder was tripped on the edge of the penalty box in the 5th minute. Greg Stewart stood over the ball and his curling freekick was inches away from opening the scoring as it clattered the crossbar.
It didn’t take long for the scoreboard to tick though. In the 7th minute, Vikram played a delighful sequence of passes with Greg who laid off Vikram down the right. Vikram played it across for Díaz who beat his marker and the Argentine simply tapped it in to make it 1-0.
The waves of attack continued as Bipin found himself out wide on the left. He cut back his cross for Díaz who laid it off for Noguera. The Spaniard, with the slightest of touches played it back to Díaz who put it past Mohit Dhami for his second goal in 14 minutes. 2-0.
The attacks kept coming, this time through Yoëll van Nieff in the 21st minute. Making his first start for the Islanders, the Dutchman pinged an exquisite pass out wide for Vikram who beat his man on the wing and put in a looping cross towards Bipin Singh. Bipin’s header was acrobatically saved by Dhami who clattered into the post in the process. After a brief moment of concern, Dhami was back on his feet to the relief of everyone.
Vikram returned to the XI after starting on the bench in the opening game against Mohammedan and was leaving no stone unturned to leave his mark on the proceedings. In the 27th minute, the young forward once again beat his defender with ease and unleashed a low shot but a save from Dhami kept it out.
The hunt for the third goal continued in the 32nd minute, this time from the left. Greg Stewart found the run of Alberto Noguera down the wing who cut back his cross. The ball fell to the feet of Vikram Partap Singh who let fly a shot straight into Dhami’s arms.
Mohit Dhami, who was proving to be the hero for the young Jamshedpur side, was called into action once gain in the 36th minute. Bipin Singh surged into the box from the left but the ball was crowded away from his feet. The clearance fell straight into the feet of Greg Stewart who unleashed a shot from outside the box but was parried away by Dhami.
The chances kept coming. Rahul Bheke found Díaz who cut it back to Apuia. The midfielder fired a shot which was saved by Dhami but fell straight into the path of Bipin. The Manipuri winger managed to get two cracks at the shot but unfortunately did not find the back of the net with either.
On the 40th minute mark, Alberto Noguera set the stage on fire with a spark of brilliance. Greg Stewart did brilliantly to hold the ball off the back of pressure from the JFC defence. Noguera picked up a pass from Greg, played an ever-so-delicate 1-2 with Díaz and chipped it over Dhami to make it 3-0 for the Islanders.
As it has been the case all evening, Vikram went past his defender on the right with considerable ease. Vikram’s deep cross found Greg Stewart at the far post who headed it into the net but referee blew his whistle for a foul by Stewart on the Jamshedpur defender.
As half time approached, it was encore down the right as Vikram once again beat his man but this time decided to take an early shot himself but it trickled wide off the target. The referee soon blew his whistle to call time on an effective first half for the Islanders.
The second half started for the Islanders as they ended the first. An early chance fell for Mumbai City through Greg Stewart’s corner in the 47th minute. The ball made its way through the crowded penalty area and was met by Yoëll van Nieff’s late run who struck out a leg to strike it into the back of the net to make it 4-0 – the Dutchman’s maiden goal for the Islanders on his first start for the club.
The story in the second half read quite similar to that of the first. Vikram’s cross after a strong run down the right was left by Greg for Bipin but his first touch was too heavy as the ball was cleared away by the Jamshedpur defence.
In the 54th minute, Vikram’s effort all evening finally paid off. Apuia’s held off the ball for Greg who sumptuously laid out a dinking cross for Vikram. A diving header from an improbably tight angle from Vikram knocked the ball past Dhami as the scoreboard read 5-0 in favour of the Islanders.
Mumbai City kept piling the pressure on Jamshedpur FC. A corner routine saw the ball played out of the box. Rahul Bheke did will to assume control of the second phase of play and lobbed the ball over the defence for an onrushing Díaz. The Argentine took a stab at the ball at full stretch but enough pressure from Dhami meant Díaz’s attempt went considerably wide.
With the result seemingly under control, Des Buckingham rang in a quadruple change on the 62nd minute. Noguera, Bipin, Greg and Díaz were given an early rest as the quartet were replaced by Ayush, Gurkirat, Vinit and Halen.
Vinit Rai’s introduction nearly made an instant impact just one minute after his introduction. Vikram’s cross from the right was punched out by Dhami who came flying from his line. The ball fell to Vinit who had to adjust awkwardly quickly but let fly a side-footed attempt from his left which was just off the mark.
Chances were coming at a premium for the young Jamshepdur side but they found themselves with an opportunity in the 66th minute when Mehtab fouled Ashley Koli down the right-hand side. JFC’s captain Vikash floated in the dead ball but his free kick was comfortably punched out by Phurba Lachenpa.
Des Buckingham made his fifth and final change of the evening, bringing on Sanjeev Stalin for Rahul Bheke at right back. The outgoing Bheke jogged off after putting in another solid shift as he passed on the captain’s armband to Mehtab Singh.
Much like Vinit, the substitutes Stalin and Ayush almost made an instant impact. Stalin made a marauding run from the right, played a deft pass into Apuia whose blocked shot fell to Ayush but his rather feeble shot was easy pickings for Dhami in the Jamshedpur goal.
Into the final 10 minutes on the evening, Jamshedpur would create their best chance of the game. A move down the right saw a cross expertly cut back towards Amzard who had made a late run into the box but his shot sailed over the bar without troubling Phurba, who had a relatively comfortable evening.
Coming off the bench, Ayush slotted into a fluid attacking set up with Vikram and found himself down the right wing and fed it to fellow substitute Stalin. The full back delivered a cross towards Vikram who attempted yet another diving header but the linesman had his flag up for offside to the dismay of young Vikram.
As the rain lashed down in the final few minutes of the game, referee Pranjal Banerjee blew the full time whistle, bringing an end to a five star performance from Des Buckingham’s Mumbai City FC, who have now made it two wins in two in Group B of the 2023 Durand Cup.
The Islanders will now enjoy an 11-day break before their final group game against the Indian Navy Football Team on August 19 at the VYBK with action kicking off at 2:30pm.