Mumbai, October 27: Mumbai City FC heaved a sigh of relief with a 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Delhi Dynamos in their Indian Super League (ISL) tie on Saturday (October 27).
Modou Sougou gave the Islanders the lead in the 30th minute, while Arnold Issoko doubled the advantage in the 70th minute as the hosts took three points from the game.
A tie between teams with the worst defensive record in the league so far, many would have hoped of seeing a number of goals on either side of the pitch. But on Saturday, while the game did highlight the defensive problems that both Mumbai and Delhi were facing this season, it also showcased the frailties in front of the goal that has resulted in the teams failing to find the back of the net as often as they would have wanted.
But if we were to avoid the final third, there was a lot of good action to talk about. Lallianzuala Chhangte, returning to his preferred left wing after playing out of position in the previous game, was a live wire throughout the opening half for Delhi, keeping the Mumbai backline busy.
The Mizo created chances in plenty, but the Delhi attackers could barely muster anything from the opportunities. Romeo Fernandes saw his volley from the edge of the penalty area fly over the crossbar, while Andrija Kaluderovic extracted a fine save from Ravi Kumar in the Mumbai goal, who was filling in for the injured Amrinder Singh.
For the larger part of the opening half, Delhi was successful in keeping the Mumbai attackers in their own half. Troubling the hosts with their incessant wave of attack, the team from the capital city should have taken the lead midway through the half. Fed in by a Rene Mihelic cross, Kaluderovic did well to sell a shimmy to beat his marker and release a low shot towards the Mumbai goal. But unfortunately for him, Ravi Kumar read the move and was quick to go down and parry the ball. And even though the rebound fell kindly to Chhangte, he couldn’t make much of it.
In football, missed chances barely go unpunished, and it was no different at the Mumbai Football Arena too as the hosts came out of nowhere to take the lead. It started with Rafael Bastos spotting an overlapping Arnold Issoko on the far side. The Congo international then showed great presence of mind to whip in a first-time cross which was delightfully tapped in by Sougou to give the hosts the lead against the run of play.
And it seemed that a goal was all that Mumbai needed to get their act together. Sougou could have added another one minutes later, but goalkeeper Francisco Dorronsoro pulled off a fine save to deny the Senegalese this time.
Things were no different in the second half too as Mumbai continued their quest for a second goal. And they were presented with a fine opportunity to do so soon after the whistle as referee Ramaswamy SC pointed to the spot after Sougou was brought down inside the area. But the Islanders failed to find the back of the net as Bastos failed to find the target with his take.
But fortunately for them, that didn’t matter much as Delhi continued to be sloppy in front of the goal while Mumbai finally managed to double their advantage. It was their foreigners who once again combined as Issoko was found on the other end of a Paulo Machado’s defence-splitting pass, and the Congo international did well to round off the ’keeper before rolling the ball into an empty goal.