Mumbai City FC suffered back-to-back losses at the Arena as FC Goa registered a 4-2 away win. It was an identical scoreline to the previous game for the Islanders with both games ending in a defeat.
Goals from Lenny Rodrigues, Ferran Corominas, Hugo Boumous and Carlos Pena scored for the away side. First club goals for Sarthak Golui & Souvik Chakrabarti weren’t enough for the home side on a thrilling night.
The highly anticipated encounter began as expected with both sides pressing high and not giving each other any free space. The first chance of the game came through a Mumbai City FC free-kick as Amine Chermiti beat the wall but his effort sailed over the crossbar.
It was Jorge Costa’s side who looked likely to score first as the constant pressure put FC Goa under trouble. In the 15th minute, Raynier Fernandes played a delightful through ball to find Bipin Singh on the right side. The winger drilled a low cross but it lacked pace and failed to find any blue shirt in the Goa box. In the next minute, FC Goa goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz nearly scored an own-goal after taking a few extra touches before clearing the ball off the line.
Amrinder Singh was called into action in the 17th minute with Ahmed Jahouh testing him from 25 yards out. The midfielder went for goal from distance but Amrinder made a good diving save. In the corner that followed, FC Goa took the lead through Rodrigues. He controlled the ball brilliantly in the box before volleying the ball into the back of the net.
The Islanders should have equalized in the 29th minute. Sarthak’s header at the far post fell kindly to Diego Carlos but the Brazilian’s shot hit the side netting. The pace of the game slowed down with both sides taking their foot off the gas.
FC Goa doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time after Boumous’ through ball opened up the defence to find Seriton Fernandes. The right-back’s cross found Coro in the box and the Spaniard did well to score his 6th goal against Mumbai City FC. The home side trailed 0-2 at the end of the first half despite playing good football.
Jorge Costa hoped for a better second-half display and his boys definitely didn’t disappoint him. In the 49th minute, Paulo Machado forced Nawaz into a smart save after drilling in a low at his near post, resulting in a corner. Mohamed Larbi took the corner and his delivery found Sarthak at the far post. The centre-back beat his marker and headed the ball across the goal to beat Nawaz and Seriton on the line. The Islanders pulled one back with plenty of time left in the game.
Just after the goal, the home side seemed more energetic and were doing well to put FC Goa under pressure once again. All that pressure did pay off eventually. Bipin’s corner was cleared away but not past Raynier. The local boy chested the ball in the path of Souvik who blasted the ball into the bottom corner. The game was level at 2-2 in the 55th minute, surely all those motivational words from Costa did the trick.
The joy was short-lived for the Islanders as FC Goa hit back just 4 minutes to take a 3-2 lead and silence the home crowd. Mourtada Fall showed strength to head the ball across the goal with Boumous heading home from close range and also injuring himself after crashing onto the post. He went off to receive some treatment and was eventually replaced by Edu Bedia in the 63rd minute.
Jorge Costa made his first substitution by bringing the versatile Surchandra Singh for Bipin Singh. The intensity of the game was pretty high after a frantic 25 minutes in the second half. In the midst of all this, Souvik was booked for a late challenge from behind.
FC Goa slowed down the game by passing the ball around and testing the tiring legs of the Islanders who pressed for the majority of the game. Both sides made changes to bring fresh pair of legs as Pranjal Bhumij and Bidyanand Singh replaced Paulo Machado and Raynier Fernades for Mumbai City FC. For the away side, Manvir Singh replaced Jackichand Singh.
The away side delivered the killer punch in the 89th minute as Carlos Pena got a slight touch from a free-kick and it beat Amrinder at his near post. All that hard work from the Islanders got outdone with FC Goa fighting back to pick up 3 points to remain unbeaten.
There’s plenty to ponder for Jorge Costa during the international break as his side remains on 4 points after 4 matches. The Islanders will return to action after a 20-day break to face NorthEast United FC and will hope to have a few faces back from injury.