Mumbai City FC ended their AFC Champions League 2022 campaign on a winning note, defeating Air Force Club 1-0 in Group B at the King Fahd International Stadium on Tuesday.
A first half strike from Diego Maurício secured Mumbai City the three points and ended Air Force Club’s hopes of advancing to the Round of 16.
Air Force Club came into the tie on the back of their 3-2 win over Al Jazira of UAE, while Mumbai City had fallen to a fourth defeat of their campaign, losing 6-0 to Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab on Matchday Five.
Air Force Club quickly took control of the game with Alaa Abbas forcing Mumbai City goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa into a finger-tip save when he tried from distance in the sixth minute.
Mumbai City, however, were equal to the task, getting their first attempt three minutes later when Vikram Singh threaded a pass through the Air Force Club defenders for Lallianzuala Chhangte, but the midfielder’s shot was foiled by goalkeeper Mohammed Mejbel.
Air Force Club continued to apply pressure with Abbas missing his effort from inside the box in the 11th minute, while Dhurgham Ismail and Ibrahim Bayesh were also wasteful in their efforts.
The Iraqis came close again in the 23rd minute when Shareef Abdul Kadhim sent a wonderful cross into the box but Lachenpa showed quick reflexes to deny Wilson Akakpo’s header from close range.
Despite being pegged in defence, Mumbai City produced a remarkable attacking move to score in the 31st minute when Mejbel failed to hold on to Bradden Inman’s shot from distance, leaving Maurício with the simple task of a tap-in.
Air Force Club came out fighting after the restart with Abdul Kadhim trying from distance in the 50th minute after a nice layoff from Ismail, while Mustafa Mohammed missed his effort from inside the box off a corner.
In a bid to find the equaliser, Air Force Club sent on AFC Cup winner Hammadi Ahmad in place of Abdul Kadhim in the 57th minute and his presence almost paid dividends four minutes later with Bayesh forcing a save from Lachenpa but despite their best efforts, Mumbai City walked away with the points.
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