Mumbai City FC pinch FC Goa before the party
MINOO FERNANDES | NT
A goal in the 6th minute by Mumbai City FC and FC Goa stood firm to bar the team in blue from narrowing the lead in the semi-final second leg match played at PJN Stadium, Fatorda on Tuesday. Sergio’s boys now play Bengaluru FC for the ISL crown in Mumbai on Sunday. They finished their encounter with Mumbai City FC on aggregate 5-2.
Starting the match on a positive note, Mumbai City FC stunned FC Goa with a goal which came off as early as the 6th minute of play. After Brandon Fernandes sent his free kick straight into the hands of Mumbai FC keeper, the visitors came up with two moves, one of which culminated into a goal.
Attacking medio Nkufo Arnold from Democratic Republic of Congo intercepted a pass sent by an FC Goa defender in the middle and then dodged his way on to the box and seeing Brazilian striker Rafael Bastos unmarked passed the ball to him from where Bastos sent a low angular shot to beat FC Goa keeper Naveen Kumar.
The entire stadium was silenced by that brilliant goal which Bastos scored after Nkufo kept the entire FC Goa defence stranded. Keeper Naveen Kumar could do nothing to stop the ball from bulging the nets.
The match then wore on with both the teams looking out for openings.
With all their hopes of coming back in this return leg match at Nehru stadium after receiving a hammering in their first match at Mumbai, the visitors looked a bit better side and made it a point that the team was not here just to play for pride but fight the odds against them.
Their hopes did not seem to evaporate as the team worked hard to click well in all the departments of the game.
Mumbai Citys’s defence marshalled by Anwar Ali and company looked rock solid while the midfield attack revolved around Nkufo with Bastos spelling danger for most of the time.
FC Goa defence looked vulnerable and the midfield needed to be organised better. Brandon Fernandes, Jackichand Singh, Ahmad Jahou and Lenny Rodrigues appeared to take it easy, failing to galvanize.
On the other hand, putting up a valiant show, Mumbai City FC appeared to be a better side and with never-say- die spirit they made FC Goa succumb early.
Goa came close to level the score in the 56th minute when Jackichand and Brandon Fernandes failed to find the mark in close succession when chances fell to them following counter offensives. Scoring machine Coro was left high and dry with worthwhile passes coming to him.
Mumbai’s Rafael Bastos continued creating ripples in the FC Goa defence in the second session, but somehow his shots were blocked and prevented from causing any damage.
As Brandon would not click, he was substituted Manveer Singh who came in his place and seemed to create some
Mumbai too tried to add more teeth by bringing in Md Rafique in the midfield in place of Raynier Fernandes but the situation remained static with none of the teams being able to get a goal in the second session.
Mumbai’s Lucian Golan and Modou Sougou came very close to score late into the second session, but somehow FC Goa survived the anxious moments.
With this almost poor show, FC Goa has an uphill task to perform in the final when they meet Bengaluru FC at Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday.