Mumbai, Jan 8: A first-half goal by striker Khangebam Thoi Singh powered Mumbai FC, without any foreigners in their ranks, to a 1-0 win over Pune's DSK Shivajians in the first round Maharashtra I-League derby here today, January 8.
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Latching on to a faulty clearance off a floated ball into the area in the 21st minute of play, Thoi booted the ball on the half-volley to hit the underside of the bar after beating the outstretched hands of Shivajians custodian Soram Poirem and bounced in, much to the delight of the home crowd supporters at the Cooperage Stadium.
Thoi was one of two strikers employed by MFC head coach Santosh Kashyap and he reposed the faith. MFC's goal came against the run of play with the Pune outfit quickly finding their rhythm and starting to probe deep into the hosts' area.
But except for a couple of stray attempts they were unable to have a clear shot on target in the initial period.
The home team players took some time to settle down with midfielder Farukh Chaudhary, who was impressive with his fine control and excellent distributions and did the spadework for the only goal of the match.
MFC were denied a second goal three minutes later when Pratesh Shirodkar's snap effort from the edge of the area was taken care of by Angaba.
Later, MFC's goalie Laxmikant Kattimani showed good anticipating and alertness to parry over Kim Song Yong's header off Sanju Pradhan's curling cross from the right in the 29th minute.
Shivajians had another scare when Thoi, after a solo run, worked with Chaudhury on the left flank to make space and then gave a measured through pass to Stephen Dias who was in the clear.
But the MFC skipper hastily fired wide off target. In the second half the Mumbai outfit continued to hold sway and could have added to the score-line had Victorino been more alert and converted the opportunities that came his way.
Later Victorino Fernandes muffed two chances to find the target by firing the ball wide of being late in reaching it.
Shivajians, on the other hand, tried their best to come into the game, but they could not break down the Mumbai defence in the remaining period and had to end up on the losing side.
Skipper Juan Quero Barraso and North Korean Yong put in extra efforts, but all proved futile as the Mumbai defenders were resolute in their defending to come out trumps.
MFC thus continued their domination of the rivals from last season at their home venue.