Sergio Lobera’s Mumbai City FC put up a superb all-round display in our first game of 2021 to beat Kerala Blasters FC by 2-0. A 3rd minute penalty from Adam Le Fondre and a first-ever Mumbai City FC goal for Hugo Boumous was enough to seal the 3 crucial points.
There were a couple of changes for the Islanders as Mandar Rao Dessai and Hugo Boumous replaced Vignesh Dakshinamurthy and Cy Goddard from our 2-0 win over Hyderabad FC.
The Islanders got off to a perfect start after Boumous was brought down in the box by Costa Nhamoinesu in just the 2nd minute of the encounter. Up stepped Alfie and he smashed the ball straight in the middle and to his fortune, it went through Albino Gomes’ legs. It was the striker’s 6th goal of the campaign.
The game was off to a very quick start but the home side were enjoying more of it. In the 11th minute of the game, Ahmed Jahouh came up with a stunning pass right from his own box and put Hugo Boumous through on goal. He ran into the box with ease and beat the on-rushing Gomes to make it 2-0. The assist from Jahouh covered 74.6m and was possibly one of the best ever in the league’s history.
Mumbai City FC accelerated further after the two quick goals and had a few more chances to increase the lead. The Islanders put together a brilliant move with some sublime passes and the chance fell to Mandar, who made a run from the left-flank. He went for goal with a powerful shot but his effort was over the crossbar.
Our captain and no.1 Amrinder Singh was shown a yellow card for trying to stop a Kerala Blasters FC attack from a throw-in. He was back in the thick of the action for the right work. First, he made a good diving save to his left to deny Vicente Gomez in the 28th minute. After a few minutes, he followed it up with a save to his right to deny Sahal Abdul Samad who did brilliantly well to get into the MCFC box and create his own opportunity.
In the 39th minute, Vicente Gomez was shown a yellow card for a lunging tackle on Raynier Fernandes. There was a big let-off for the Islanders in the 42nd minute after Lalthathanga Khawlhring nearly got at the end of Mourtada Fall’s header clearance.
Mumbai City FC went into the break with a 2-goal lead and probably, the scoreline could have been different had both sides converted the other chances as well.
The second half began on the opposite note with both sides not rushing into the game. The first chance of the half fell to Khawlhring who went for goal from inside the box but was denied by a very important block by the impressive Mourtada Fall.
A couple of minutes later, the away side had the ball in the back of the net via Jordan Murray but it was ruled out correctly for offside. KBFC made their first change by sending Rahul KP on for Lalthathanga Khawlhring in the 61st minute.
Whereas KBFC looked to get back into the encounter, the Islanders were very dangerous on the counter-attacks. In the 68th minute, Hugo Boumous was booked for simulation after he went down in the box. Just 2 minutes later, there was another booking, this time Hugo Boumous was on the receiving end after Sandeep Singh’s foul on him.
The same pair of players were in the mix once again. This time, Sandeep went in with a clumsy tackle on Hugo in the box and the referee showed no hesitation in awarding the Islanders their 2nd penalty of the night. Hugo took the spot-kick himself but Albino Gomes made a good low-diving save to his right and denied the Frenchman. It was also the former Islanders’ goalkeeper’s 3rd penalty stop of the season.
With less than 15 minutes of normal time, there was a flurry of changes from Sergio Lobera as he introduced some fresh legs. Bart Ogbeche, Vignesh D & Cy Goddard came in for Adam Le Fondre, Mandar Rao Dessai & Hugo Boumous. The chasing KBFC put Seityasen Singh on for Sahal Abdul Samad.
The experienced side of Mumbai City FC were enjoying more possession and passing the ball around as they looked to keep the chances away from KBFC. With the game coming to an end, both sides made changes yet again. For MCFC, Vikram Partap Singh & Mohamad Rakip replaced Raynier Fernandes & Amey Ranawade. The away side brought Givson Singh for Vicente Gomez.
The final chance of the game nearly saw Ogbeche score against his former side. Vikram Singh did well to control the ball on the right flank and waited for Ogbeche’s run in the box before putting a teasing cross. Sandeep Singh managed to clear the danger away but it resulted in a clash of the heads between him and Ogbeche, luckily both the players were fine.
In the end, it was a comfortable win for Mumbai City FC after the early goals sealed the 3 points against a spirited Kerala Blasters FC. A 6th win of the season moved the Islanders to 19 points and back to the top of the table.
Sergio Lobera’s side will face Bengaluru FC on 5th January at the Fatorda Stadium and will look to keep up the momentum and the lead at the points table.