Mumbai City FC beat NorthEast United FC 1-0 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday to mark their return to the top four in the Indian Super League table at the expense of Odisha FC. The Islanders are now fourth with 23 points from 15 matches. The loss, meanwhile, means the Highlanders are now winless in nine matches, as they languish in the ninth spot with just 11 points in their kitty.
Mumbai worked the wings well in the early stages, creating a couple of decent chances in the first 15 minutes or so, the best of which fell to Carlos in the 13th minute. The Brazilian, unfortunately, couldn’t keep his header from a Mohamed Larbi cross on the target. A couple of minutes later, at the other end, Lalengmawia’s cross narrowly evaded Andrew Keogh’s reach.
Keogh had Amrinder Singh in the Mumbai goal scrambling yet again around the 20-minute mark as he tried to divert a quickly-taken Federico Gallego free-kick goalwards. Thankfully for the Islanders, the effort was off target.
The Islanders were unlucky not to have taken the lead in the 28th minute. After a round of pinball in and around the NorthEast box, the ball fell kindly for Modou Sougou, who ended up rattling the base of the woodwork.
Mumbai, however, managed to break the deadlock just before half-time. Carlos picked up a weak Jose Leudo clearance inside the NorthEast box and fired it across Highlanders goalkeeper Subhasish Roy from the left to make it 1-0 in the home team’s favour going into the break.
Martin Chaves’ introduction in the second half added some extra pace and intent to the Highlanders’ offensive line, but Mumbai looked the likelier team to score, particularly with Carlos tormenting the NorthEast rear guard. The Islanders came close to doubling their lead around the hour mark. Sougou’s attempted shot flashed across the NorthEast goal, with Amine Chermiti failing to redirect it goalwards at the far post by a matter of inches.
Few minutes later, Simon Lundevall did well to make space for himself in the Mumbai box to attempt a stab at goal but Amrinder did enough to deny the Swede. The Highlanders kept probing for the equaliser, but with Mumbai keeping things compact at the back, found it difficult to make any substantial inroads.
Late in the contest, NorthEast found themselves reduced to ten men after Reagan Singh was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in quick succession. The match eventually ended 1-0 in Mumbai’s favour.