The Navhind Times Archive

Dress was fitting but without any cuts

Mumbai City FC pinched FC Goa, leaving them in a reality that the Indian Super League (ISL) final is a different ball game as the visitors scored a solitary goal win in the last game of ISL 5 at the Nehru stadium in Fatorda on Tuesday.

The inconsequential semi-final on Tuesday was a battle between a team that needed to redeem itself after a drubbing at home and the other that wanted to finish on a winning note and Mumbai City FC flew back home to ready the final door for two teams that have been unsuccessful in their first final appearance.

Mumbai City FC scored through Rafael Bastos in the fourth minute and entertained during a great part of ninety minutes through individual brilliance. The last 2018-19 ISL match in Goa was not about who won or who lost or how many goals were scored, but about individual skill of Rafael, Nkufo Arnold and Lucian Goian.

Hosts FC Goa started the day being fully aware that sensible football – no injuries or red cards – was enough for the finals and therefore played trying to keep the ball to themselves, never wanting to lunge for any artistry. They pushed just enough to get the ball back when they lost it to their opponents and did not venture for anything out of the way.

FC Goa kept their football simple and that denied Mumbai FC an opportunity to score more. Ahmed Jahou received a yellow card in the first half and he was soon substituted. The signal was clear – Sergio was in no mood to lose his star asset.

If Rafael, Lucian and Nkufo were exemplary for Mumbai City FC, no player stood out for FC Goa because the collective spirit did though Mourtada Fall was focal.

FC Goa had two clear chances in the second session. On the first instance, Coro hit the horizontal and in the second, Amrinder dived to deny Brandon’s not so powerful shot from entering the net.

FC Goa did try to find an equaliser in the second half whilst Mumbai City tried to see whether they could pinch FC Goa further and none succeeded.

The last match of the season was about how beautiful football can be when the ball is caressed with the foot; when a stop can leave the opponent guessing; when a run with the ball rolling at ones foot can be so ceaseless; or when plain anticipation can stop a move. And, these were the lessons of football demonstrated by Rafael, Nkufo and Lucian through the last ninety minutes of ISl 5 in Goa.

FC Goa’s dress before the final against Bengaluru FC was nicely fitting but without any cuts. The rehearsal before the party was good.

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