Mumbai City FC condemned NorthEast United FC to their third consecutive defeat at home after registering a 1-0 result in Hero Indian Super League at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, on Saturday.
Mumbai City FC relied on an opportunistic goal from Jackichand Singh to notch a solitary goal victory that helped them regain their top spot. Mumbai City now have 15 points from nine matches, two more than Delhi Dynamos who have a match in hand.
NorthEast United continue to be beyond the play-off spot after being left with 10 points from their eight matches played so far. Crucially, NorthEast United have lost their last three matches, all played at home in front of a packed stadium. Sadly for the Northeast United FC fans, their top scorer in the league Emiliano Alfaro collected a Yellow card during the match and hence will miss the next match.
The hosts looked determined to wipe off bitter memories from their last two games. They were methodical in the first session but fell behind at the worst possible time due to a lapse from Brazilian goalkeeper Wellington de Lima Gomes in the 45th minute. The Brazilian appeared to be in control of a back pass when he dodged Sony Norde but the Brazilian was too overconfident with the ball in a dangerous position even as Norde raced from behind, snatched the ball and played it for Jackichand who only had to tap it inside an empty goal.
The setback just before the half-time whistle upset NorthEast’s rhythm and they could not stage a comeback in the second session.
It was a different story in the opening 45 minutes when NorthEast United pressed hard for the advantage. Katsumi Yusa and Emiliano Alfaro were both combining well upfront and creating problems for the rival defenders. The two combined well in the 20th minute to create an opportunity for Halicharan Narzary but the local lad kicked the turf instead of the ball when he was in an encouraging position to score.
NorthEast’s only effort on goal in the first session was spectacularly saved by Mumbai City goalkeeper Albino Gomes. Katsumi Yusa did well to break free on the counter and found Alfaro who showed good skill to chest the ball and volley it towards goal only for the Mumbai goalkeeper to somehow push it away.
At the other end, Mumbai City marquee Diego Forlan was creating good chances. It was his through ball that allowed Jackichand the first look at goal in the sixth minute only to chip it wide past the onrushing goalkeeper. Forlan was also deadly with free-kicks and corner-kicks although Leo Costa’s header that sailed just wide was the closest that they got.