Riding on the Ghanaian striker’s brilliant form, the home side registered three vital points in order to confirm their presence in next season’s I-League…
Mumbai FC secured a 4-2 win over Churchill Brothers SC in a dramatic I-League game at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune. Yusif Yakubu scored a couple of goals in the opening quarter of the game which was cancelled out by Jaison Vales and Asley Fernandes. However Yakubu scored his third of the evening which was soon followed by an absolute peach of a goal by Sehnaj Singh from 35-yards out.
The win ensured that Mumbai FC are no more embroiled in the fight to avoid the drop as they have 28 points from 23 matches. On the other hand, Churchill have three matches to save their season as they are placed at the bottom of the table with a mere 19 points to show.Khalid Kamil made as many as three changes to his squad with Climax Lawrence, Anwar Ali and Mohammed Rafi all handed starts while Khelemba Metei, Ahmad Hatifie and NP Pradeep making way for the trio.
Dharmaraj Ravanan, Satish Singh and Lenny Rodrigues were drafted into the starting eleven at the expense of Sudhakaran Naveen Kumar, Sanjay Balmuchu and Joshua Rebello.
The home side started better of the two sides and were rewarded in the tenth minute for their efforts. Sehnaj Singh’s corner-kick was volleyed into the back of the net by Yusif Yakubu who was left inside the box unmarked by the Churchill defenders.
Thereafter Yakubu turned provider for Alfed Jaryan whose shot was blocked to earn a corner for his side. From the ensuing flag-kick, the ball is cleared only as far as Climax Lawrence whose shot went straight to Yakubu’s feet inside the box. The experienced centre-forward turned and slotted it home with ease to double the advantage for Mumbai FC.
However Churchill did manage to find composure on the ball eventually and initiated a few attacks. Anthony Wolfe twisted and turned Mumbai FC defenders to find Balwant Singh whose shot tested Nidhin Lal who had to get down quickly to keep the lead intact.
The breakthrough came in the 36th minute when Balwant found Asley Fernandes running into the box. His scuffed shot took a massive deflection off Sandesh Jhinghan who tried to head it out only for it to loop over the goalkeeper into the back of the net.
After the break, Yakubu created an opening for Mohammed Rafi but the former Mahindra United striker blazed his shot over the crossbar.
The Red Machines soon restored parity when Wolfe’s cross from the right is dealt poorly by Jhinghan. The loose ball is latched on by Vales who slammed it into the net.
In the 65th minute, Yakubu completed his hat-trick as he headed in to put his side ahead once again in the game.
Sehnaj Singh wasn’t closed down by any of the Churchill players and the midfielder saw his venomous shot from 35-yards out catch goalkeeper Lalit Thapa off guard.
The scoreline remained the same until the final whistle as Churchill’s chances of staying in the top division look slim.