Mumbai FC emerged as the winners in the Mumbai derby, as they brushed aside the challenge of Air India by a scoreline of 3-1, in an I-League encounter at the Balewadi stadium..Goals from Haroon Amiri in the 2nd minute, Yusif Yakubu in the 42nd minute and Abhishek Yadav in the 65th minute, with Gabriel Fernandes picking up all three assists, helped Mumbai to an easy win. Ezeh Henry scored from the spot in the 94th minute, to pull one back for his side.
Khalid Jamil started with Haroon Amiri upfront, alongside Yusif Yakubu, with Abhishek Yadav starting in central defense. Evans Quao meanwhile started in central midfield.
Air India on the other hand, started with E.O Junior upfront, supported by Prakash Thorat, with Ezeh Henry being dropped to the bench. Omeje Amos kept his place in central midfield.
The hosts started on the front foot from the start, and took the lead in the 2nd minute itself, when Gabriel Fernandes found himself with plenty of space down the left wing and found Amiri with a low cross. The Afghanistani found the back of the net with his first time effort.
Mumbai FC continued to dominate possession, and had several more opportunities to go further ahead, but somehow they failed to apply the finishing touch.
Evans Quao was one of those, guilty of missing a very good chance, as he was set-up by Yakubu on a counter-attack, with just the keeper to beat. The midfielder though, failed to keep his composure, and shot wide.
E.O Junior replied for Air India with an effort of his own, but Kunal Sawantdealt with it comfortably.
Yusif Yakubu then tried his luck from distance, but Bubai Singh made a decent save. Abhishek Yadav was the next to fail to hit the target, after being put clean through.
Yakubu though, was not going to be denied, and doubled his side’s advantage in the 42nd minute, tapping the ball home, from yet another cross by Gabriel Fernandes, who was getting plenty of joy down the wings.
That proved to be the last bit of action in the first half, as the referee blew for half-time soon afterwards.
The Airmen showed greater urgency from the start of the second half, and pegged the hosts into their own half.
However frustratingly for them, they failed to really test the goalkeeper, even after bringing in Ezeh Henry.
Infact they almost went further behind, when Micky Fernandes dithered on the ball, allowing Abhishek Yadav to have a shot on goal. The former Indian International though, was tentative with his effort, and Bubai Singh was able to make a save.
Souvik Chakraborty then almost pulled one back for his side from a free-kick. However Kunal Sawant came up with a top save, to palm the shot away for a corner.
Abhishek Yadav then, sealed the tie in the 65th minute, getting to the end of another Gabriel Fernandes low cross, to tap the ball home.
Ezeh Henry could have pulled one back shortly afterwards, but Sawant was quick off his line, to smother the chance.
Soon afterward, P. Mohanraj and Ezeh Henry combined to miss another glorious chance, as both failed to press the trigger, allowing the Mumbai FC defenders to clear the danger.
Naushad Moosa threw in Branco Cardozo, in the hope of finding a winner, but it was Mumbai who came close to adding to their advantage, but Abhishek Yadav’s attempt at a chip, came back off the bar.
Yusif Yakubu then tried a chip of his own, but his effort beat the keeper, however it went just wide of the post.
Haroon Amiri then had a big chance at the end of the game, but took too long to take a shot, allowing the Air India defenders to block it.
On the counter then, Ezeh Henry entered the box, and was fouled by Faizal Rehman. Henry brushed himself off, and took the ensuing penalty, to pull one back in the 94th minute.
That proved to be the last bit of real action in the game, as the win saw Mumbai FC move to 30 points from 22 games, the same as Sporting Clube de Goa, who are currently 6th on the table.
Air India remained on 19 points, hovering just above the relegation zone.