Kwesi Appiah scored from the spot as NorthEast United FC began their Indian Super League campaign with a 1-0 win over Mumbai City FC here on Saturday. Also Read - BFC vs OFC Dream11 Team Predictions, Fantasy Football Tips For Indian Super League: Captain, Vice-captain, Predicted XIs For Today's Bengaluru FC vs Odisha FC ISL Football Match at Fatorda Stadium 7.30 PM IST January 24 Sunday
A red card and a penalty turned a game, that Mumbai were otherwise dominating, on its head and handed NorthEast United FC a winning start at the Tilak Maidan. Also Read - KBFC vs FCG Dream11 Team Prediction, Fantasy Football Tips Indian Super League: Captain, Vice-captain, Predicted XIs For Today's Kerala Blasters FC vs FC Goa ISL Football Match at GMC Stadium, Bambolim 7.30 PM IST January 23 Saturday
Appiah (49′) scored the only goal from a penalty after the Islanders were reduced to 10-men following Ahmed Jahouh’s red card just before the breather. Also Read - SCEB vs MCFC Dream11 Team Prediction Indian Super League: Captain, Vice-captain, Fantasy Playing Tips, Predicted XIs For Today's SC East Bengal vs Mumbai City FC ISL Football Match at Tilak Maidan, Goa 7.30 PM IST January 22 Friday
In the early stages, it looked like NorthEast were aiming for nothing more than a goalless draw, with extreme caution visible in their game plan.
Predictably, it was Mumbai who dominated the first half. The Islanders were neat and proactive for long spells, though they were unable to find a cutting edge.
Despite having players like Jahouh, Hugo Boumous, and Rowllin Borges, all capable of creating magic on their day, Sergio Lobera’s side failed to get a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
They did hold the lion’s share of the possession that occasionally resulted in hopeful efforts. In the 12th minute, Adam le Fondre’s cross from the right-wing found striker Bartholomew Ogbeche. The resulting effort though was intercepted by NorthEast defender Ashutosh Mehta.
In the next few minutes, an Ogbeche header went over the bar while Jahouh took two attempts from distance. A clear-cut chance though was still eluding Lobera’s men.
Then, the match took an unexpected turn as Jahouh, who was dictating things from midfield, was sent off with a straight red, a couple of minutes before half time. His offence was a studs-up challenge on NorthEast’s Khassa Camara.
Gerard Nus’ men capitalised on their numerical advantage soon after the restart. The Highlanders were awarded a penalty in the 49th minute when the ball struck Borges’ arm after NorthEast’s Dylan Fox had headed in a short corner. Appiah sent keeper Amrinder Singh in wrong direction.
With Mumbai now under pressure, NorthEast took control over the game with Khumanthem Meetei and Appiah making regular
inroads. Lobera made a tactical change replacing Ogbeche with Stephen Goddard, giving Le Fondre a central role up front.
Mumbai had a rare opportunity in the 65th minute when Sarthak got his head to a cross, but his effort sailed inches over the bar. Lobera’s team kept knocking on the door in the final quarter, but an equaliser eluded them.