Greg Stewart’s hattrick and a brace from Chhangte caps off a scintillating goal fest as the Islanders enter the final four of the Durand Cup 2022
Mumbai City FC took on Chennaiyin FC in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Durand Cup with the match between two powerhouses of the Indian Super League ending 5-3 in favour of the Islanders after extra time. A sensational performance by Greg Stewart made the headlines who grabbed a hattrick on the night and was unstoppable throughout the 120 minutes.
Jorge Pereyra Díaz missed out against Chennaiyin FC today as he was recovering from a training knock, along with Rahul Bheke and Vikram Partap Singh. Mourtada Fall made the matchday squad alongside Rowllin Borges who returned after a nine-month injury layoff. Phurba Lachenpa also returned to the starting eleven as he started in Mumbai City FC’s goal.
The Islanders and Marina Machans started the game aggressively as both Indian Super League teams were trying to control possession to construct play and make clear cut chances for their frontline.
The first big chance of the game came the way of the Islanders in the 3rd minute as some beautiful build up play led to Noguera triggering a fine shot but which was parried away by Debjit in goal for Chennaiyin FC.
Chennaiyin FC also looked dangerous in the opening minutes in the game as in the 10th minute Karikari tried his luck from distance but it went straight into Lachenpa’s hand in the Mumbai City FC goal. Unfortunately for the Marina Machans he was stretched off in the 18th minute of the game after suffering an injury.
Soon after the game turned into a midfield battle which was being dominated by Mumbai City FC as Jahouh, Noguera and Bipin were constantly looking to drive the Islanders up the field.
Mumbai City FC looked threatening on the counter and in the 38th minute after Jahouh lobbed the ball into the path of Amey, who was taken down by the Chennaiyin FC keeper inside the box, resulting in a penalty awarded to the Islanders. Greg Stewart stepped up to take the spot kick which he powerfully slotted past Debjit to hand Mumbai City FC a 1-0 lead in the quarterfinal of the 2022 Durand Cup.
The Islanders went into the break with a 1-0 lead after a dominating performance through the first 45 minutes as the Marina Machans were struggling to penetrate the Mumbai City defence who were fairly untroubled in the first half.
The second-half started in similar fashion to that of the first. Ninthoi came on for Edwin on for Chennaiyin FC after the break as the Marina Machans were getting set to chase the slender 1-0 lead Mumbai City FC held over them.
In the 56th minute a chance broke for Mumbai City FC as a clever back heel from Greg released Noguera in the box, who played a through ball across the goal to Chhangte, who cut inside and drove one on target but was blocked by the keeper.
Immediately after that in the 56th minute Chennaiyin FC’s Dueker drilled a beautiful ball for Ninthoi who failed to keep it on target from close range.
The Islanders could have had a chance at increasing the lead when Greg Stewart made a fantastic run from his own half but was deemed offside after a sensational but incorrect call from the linesman far side.
The very next move proved fatal as substitute Ninthoi in the 59th minute fed a cross from the right for Sliskovic who scored a powerful header to equalise for Chennaiyin FC, as the game stood at 1-1.
The Islanders looked to retake the lead right after the restart in the 61st minute. Some intricate exchanges between Greg and Amey saw the Scotsman play a sleek through ball to Chhangte who fired a shot at Debjit, who successfully managed to parry it away.
Des Buckingham made a double substitution in the 75th minute to inject the game with some fresh ideas and energy as Mehtab made way for Gurkirat and Fall replaced Noguera for his first appearance at the 2022 Durand Cup.
In the 78th minute Chhangte restored the lead for Mumbai City FC. Bipin put in a smart ball across the face of the goal after he was found by Greg Stewart’s smart through ball. Chhangte slid in at the far post to make it 2-1 in favour of the Islanders. Mumbai City FC’s number 7 scored his 6th goal of the 2022 Durand Cup.
Coach Buckingham made another double substitution in the 83rd minute as he brought on Vignesh and Rowllin to replace Sanjeev and Vinit respectively. In response to that Chennaiyin FC made a substitute of their own as they brought on Jockson Dhas for Sajal in the 83rd minute itself, as the game was delicately poised at 2-1 in favour of the Islanders.
Despite Mumbai City FC dominating proceedings, Jockson Dhas scored and equalised for Chennaiyin FC in the 89th minute to make it 2-2, setting up an enthralling finish to the game. However, the scores remained intact at the end of 90 minutes forcing the tie to go into extra time.
The match became about fitness and endurance as the 30 minutes of extra time were kicked-off, but Mumbai City FC players looked energised as in the 94th minute Greg Stewart found Fall, who lobbed the ball first time to an unmarked Chhangte, who scored his second of the night and his 7th of the 131st Durand Cup. Mumbai City FC took the lead as the scores read 3-2 in favour of the Islanders.
Soon after, the phenomenal Greg Stewart finally got a well-deserved goal in the 100th minute as he dribbled past three Chennaiyin FC players and scored a world class goal to extend the lead for Mumbai City FC to 4-2. The game was slowly slipping away from the tiring Chennaiyin FC players as the Islanders became even more dominant on the ball.
The first half of extra time came to an end as Mumbai City FC stormed into the lead with two superb goals by their standout performers in the 2022 Durand Cup, Chhangte and Stewart. Chennaiyin FC looked drained going into the extra time break as the scores read 4-2 in favour of the Islanders.
After the extra time break, coaches of both teams made double substitutions - Mandar and Gill came on in place of Bipin and Amey for the Islanders. Senthamil and Suhail came on for Ajith and Sajid for the Marina Machans.
Chennaiyin FC looked resolute despite the 2-goal deficit going into the second half of extra time. In the 106th minute, Thapa played a quick free kick to Julius who tried to slot it past Lachenpa in Mumbai City FC’s goal but the Islanders’ custodian stood tall.
Chennaiyin FC kept piling on the pressure. Jockson Dhas’ shot crashed against the crossbar from distance in the 111th minute, with Phurba’s fingertips denying him a goal. The very next minute, Chennaiyin FC managed to pull one back. A dangerous corner from Thapa was received by Julius who controlled the ball and played it out to Rahim who smashed it past the keeper to make it 4-3.
But the unrelenting nature of the Mumbai City FC players saw them put the tie to bed and score their fifth goal of the match in the 118th minute as Greg Stewart became the first player to score a hattrick at the 2022 Durand Cup. Chhangte played it laterally to Greg, who calmly guided the ball past Debjit to secure a hard-fought 5-3 win for Mumbai City.
A place in the semifinals assured, the Islanders will take on Mohammedan Sporting on September 14 at the VYBK as Des Buckingham’s side eye a spot in the final of the 2022 Durand Cup.