FULL-TIME: Mumbai City FC 1-5 FC Goa
Mumbai City FC: 20′ Rafael Bastos (Assist: Arnold Issoko).
FC Goa: 31′ Jackichand Singh; 39′ M. Fall (Header, Assist: Brandon Fernandes); 51′ Coro (Header, Assist: Jackichand Singh); 58′ M. Fall (Header, Assist: B. Fernandes); 82′ B. Fernandes (Assist: H. Boumous).
FC Goa produced a wrecking ball performance to demolish Mumbai City FC’s hopes of qualifying for the final in the first leg of the Hero ISL semi-final.
The Islanders started the game with intent and denied Goa time and space on the ball. They pressed Goa high up on the pitch and tried to dispossess Ahmed Jahouh and the Goan defence whenever they got on the ball.
Mumbai threatened to score with most of their attacking intent coming from the wing play of Arnold Issoko. They got themselves in the lead in the 20th minute when Arnold’s outside of the foot cross from the right flank was met perfectly by an unmarked Rafael Bastos who had made a run to the far post.
Goa looked perturbed after going down by a goal and set out to make amends. They were more careful in possession and Jahouh dropped deeper than usual to keep the ball. For a side setup to defend, Mumbai showed extreme naivety in defence which would cost them the game and passage to the final.
The first of Goa’s goals and the equaliser would come in the 31st minute. Coro had just that bit of space outside the box to unleash a shot straight at the Mumbai custodian. Amrinder Singh spilled the ball into Jackichand’s path who had made a smart run into the box. The Manipuri winger finished to level the scores.
The Gaurs got a second a few minutes later from Brandon’s delivery from a corner kick. The Mumbai defence were culpable as the corner kick bounced in the box and went on its path until Mourtada Fall scored with a stooping header.
Mumbai had a couple of great chances to level the scores, but the Goa keeper Naveen Kumar pulled off spectacular saves to deny the Islanders. These misses would in the end cost Mumbai the tie and and hope of a revival in the second leg as the teams went into the half-time break.
Goa had three times as much xG (2.45) compared to Mumbai City (0.71). Although both the teams had almost the same number of shots on goal, Goa’s quality of attacking play was far more lethal. The running sum graph showcases an upward trajectory and rightly so – in the second half, Goa looked like scoring every time they went forward with the ball.
The Gaurs picked out the Mumbai defence piece by piece and scored three goals in the second half. An unmarked Coro got the first of the three with a header after Jackichand’s cross found him just outside the far post. Mourtada got his second of the night with another stooping header from another perfect corner delivery by FC Goa.
Brandon capped off the night with a fifth goal for FC Goa. He gave the Mumbai keeper Amrinder Singh the eyes and managed to sneak a shot in at the near post.
In Mumbai’s defence or lack of it tonight, they did give it a right go. Tonight, they were outclassed by a far superior team and did not have an answer. They got some shots away in the second half as well, but Naveen Singh was in prime form tonight and blocked everything.
With five away goals in the first leg, Goa have pretty much booked their passage to the final. The second leg will be played on Tuesday, 12th March and the Gaurs can have a dress rehearsal ahead of the big final.