Mumbai City FC became the second team seal qualification for the playoff rounds of the 10th Season of the Indian Super League, after they swatted away the challenge from Punjab FC in New Delhi with a scoreline of 3-2. It was an entertaining contest, with both teams going for the goals. Spanish forward Iker Guarrotxena scored a brace, while Lallianzuala Chhangte got one for the Islanders, who are well and truly in the race to retain the ISL League Winners Shield.

As expected, Mumbai City FC looked to settle into their passing game quickly, and started off well too. In attack, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Bipin Singh on the wings were looking to run at the Punjab defence whenever possible, while the likes of Alberto Noguera and Jayesh Rane ran the show behind them.

Wilmar Jordan had an eye on goal, but an off-side helped the Islanders out, in what was turning out to be an action packed opening few minutes. 16 minutes into the game, the Islanders got their noses out in front, when Chhangte finished off the rebound with relative ease, after Bipin’s shot on target was parried away.

Punjab FC were asking a few questions off the Mumbai City FC defensive set-up, but Rahul Bheke and co weren’t very troubled. By the time the players took the first drinks break, the visitors were well and truly in command. Shortly after though, Punjab FC turned things around as Madih Talal first scored the equaliser in the 37th minute and then set it up for Jordan to make it 2-1 to the hosts in the 39th. In response, the visitors attacked with a lot of enthusiasm and some slick passing, but the teams went into the half-time break with Punjab leading Mumbai City FC.   

After the breather, the wind picked up, and so did the intensity of the game, with Mumbai City FC, the ISL League Winners Shield holders from last season, keeping the hosts on their toes. Seven minutes into the half, the Islanders’ forward Iker Guarrotxena drove at the heart of the Punjab FC defence, and then finished off the move with a simple tap-in to make it 2-2.

From then on in, Petr Kratky’s men upped the ante, with Chhangte putting in some dangerous passes into the Punjab FC area. Just after the hour-mark, the Spaniard Guarrotxena was at the heart of all things good again, as he expertly tucked in a sublime through ball from Jayesh Rane, to give the visitors a 3-2 lead. The pressure and quick movement from Mumbai City FC had paid rich dividends, and they were looking to finish strongly in the final phase of play.

Punjab FC looked for an equaliser in the final minutes, but the well-drilled Mumbai City FC side kept them at bay, and walked away with three important points. The win also means that Mumbai City FC have now won 4 games in the last 5, having drawn one.