Orok Essien and Climax Lawrence's goals sealed the issue in Mumbai FC's favour, after Henri Antchouet missed a penalty and a flurry of other chances...Mumbai FC defeated defending champions Churchill Brothers SC by a scoreline of 2-0, in a round three I-League encounter at the Duler Stadium in Goa.
Orok Essien got the vital opening goal in the 46th minute, with a sublime finish after some good close control. Climax Lawrence sealed the deal in the 87th minute with a stooping finish, to meet Nicholas Rodrigues' cross.
Mariano Dias made four changes from the first eleven that faced Mohun Bagan. Goalkeeper Lalit Thapa replaced injured Arindam Bhattacharya, while Balwant Singh and Bikramjit Singh make their way in, besides Churchill's latest signing in the form of Anthony Pereira.
Hugo Machado, Ahmad Al Kaddour and Denzil Franco had been left on the bench.
On the other side, Khalid Jamil excluded John Coutinho from his starting line-up to hand Afghan forward Sandjar Ahmadi his Mumbai FC debut.
The closest anyone came to scoring in the first half was when Churchill forward Balwant Singh completely missed the flight of a goalmouth cross by Satish Singh in the 12th minute, which was after Mumbai FC had dominated most of the proceedings.
Ahmadi looked like a livewire in the initial minutes until the Red Machines stamped their authority through their midfield. A couple of long balls were played in by Satish Singh towards Antchouet, but Anwar Ali stood firm on every such occasion.
Churchill striker Balwant received the ball back from Bineesh Balan in the 27th minute but his shot was too far away from the target.
The home side were offered a great chance to grab the lead, when they were awarded a penalty in the 40th minute when Valeriano Rebello was held guilty of bringing down Balan in the Mumbai FC box.
However, Mumbai FC goalkeeper Kunal Sawant guessed correctly and dived to his left to block Antchouet's spot-kick. The Gabon international then shockingly couldn't get a good enough touch to slot on the rebound before Amiri cleared the remaining danger as the first half ended goalless.
The scoreline though, was soon to change as Amiri played a clever ball to Orok, who controlled well and drifted in, before picking his spot to fire home the opener.
Dias's men were given a rude awakening after that goal, and attacked with vigour in search of an equaliser. Balwant Singh was particularly lively, but twice his crosses were cleared, before they got to their intended targets.
Antchouet then failed to read a good cross by Saran Singh into the box, which was headed towards him by Bineesh Balan. Soon after, the forward was again at fault, as his first touch let him down, after he was expertly found by Churchill substitute Hugo Machado, allowing Anwar Ali to clear the danger.
Balan then saw his shot on the volley being blocked by Mumbai FC's Ashutosh Mehta, before Antchouet failed to get a good enough touch to Saran's cross, allowing rival keeper Sawant to smother the danger.
The issue was then sorted when Climax Lawrence converted from a delightful cross by Nicholas Rodrigues, to give his side the vital two-goal cushion in the 87th minute.
Churchill's evening then was summed up when Rebello managed to somehow clear the ball on the line, after Antchouet had finally managed to get the better of his nemesis in Sawant by lobbing the ball over the Mumbai FC custodian.
The hosts continued pouring forward in the hope of halving the lead held by Jamil's side, but the away side held on to take home all three points from the tie.
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