Mumbai, December 16: Mumbai City FC capped off their 2018 with a fantastic 6-1 win over Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday (December 16).
Goal machine Modou Sougou notched up his first hat-trick of the campaign with goals in the 12th, 15th, 30th and the 90th minutes while Rafael Bastos (70th minute) and Matias Mirabaje (89th minute) added more misery on the Kerala side with delightful long-range efforts. Seiminlen Doungel got the only Kerala goal in the 27th minute.
Their last game before the winter break and Mumbai was determined to sign off the year on a happy note. And the spikes in their steps were clearly visible as they were the better side for the most part of the opening half.
It barely took them any time before testing the Kerala backline. Found on the other side of a counter attack, Arnold Issoko was quick to beat his marker and thread in a well-weighted cross for Sougou inside the box. But unfortunately, the Senegalese was late to the ball the Kerala backline heaved a sigh of relief. That relief, however, lasted for minutes as the hosts continued with the relentless pressure.
A hat-trick ☑— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) December 16, 2018
A new #HeroISL record ☑@papesougou was unstoppable in Mumbai tonight and without a doubt picks up the #MUMKER Hero of the Match award. #LetsFootball #FanBannaPadega #HeroISL pic.twitter.com/QDZbfkvMja
Kerala did more than just defend in the opening half. Going forward they were expressive. And one such move saw Zakeer Mundampara push a defence-splitting pass through the heart of the Mumbai backline. And even though Courage Pekuson did well to get on to it and tap it past Amrinder Singh in the Mumbai goal, the ball went wide.
The miss, however, cost them, dear, as Mumbai made the visitors pay moments later. It started with Kerala losing the ball deep in the Mumbai half. Bastos found Paulo Machado with a pass that had the Kerala defence gasping for breath. The Portuguese was then allowed enough time to pick his pass from the left, and he does well to lay it up for Sougou who was never missing from the goalmouth.
The goal, somewhat opened the floodgates as Mumbai doubled their advantage three minutes later. This time Sougou chose to test Dheeraj Singh in the Kerala goal. Yards away from the penalty area, the Senegalese pulled the trigger, the ball ricocheting off the crossbar to double Mumbai’s lead.
Considering the season they have had and the scoreline, expecting Kerala to fold wouldn’t have been a bad idea, but a certain Sahal Samad had other ideas and he made his intentions clear even though his side was down. The Kerala man did well to steal the ball from Rainier's feet and then went on to dance past a few defenders before Lucian Goian threw himself in to stop the youngster. But thankfully for Kerala, the loose ball fell to Doungel who slotted it past Amrinder Singh.
What a statement from @MumbaiCityFC as they completely dominated @KeralaBlasters and scored three goals in each half to ensure the final match of 2018 ended with a bang 💥!#HeroISL #LetsFootball #MUMKER #FanBannaPadega pic.twitter.com/YWSRbeYKpT— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) December 16, 2018
That, however, was the only time someone heard the Kerala faithful who had flocked the stadium hoping for a Blasters win. Sougou soon went on to complete his hat-trick, nodding in a Subhasish Bose cross that beat one of India’s 'top defender’ Sandesh Jhingan.
Later, while Mundampara saw a second yellow for a reckless challenge on Bastos, the Brazilian made most of the numerical advantage with a peach of a goal which was followed by Mirabaje and Sougou.