Trevor Morgan's side suffered their second defeat as Khalid Jamil's side registered yet another three points...
Mumbai FC handed East Bengal its second successive defeat, as they beat the Red and Gold 2-1 in an I-League encounter at the Balewadi stadium in Pune.
Gabriel Fernandes scored the first goal of the game in the 64th minute with Yusif Yakubu sealing the points in the 94th minute, as the hosts made Trevor Morgan’s side pay for their uninspiring play in the final third. Chidi Edeh scored a consolation for the away side in the 97th minute.
Khalid Jamil named Peter Costa in place of Justine Stephen, keeping faith in N.D Opara and Yusif Yakubu upfront. Faizal Rehman also missed out, with Abhishek Yadav making the XI.
Raju Gaikwad meanwhile replaced the suspended Uga Okpara for East Bengal.
The hosts began the brighter of the two sides, with Gabriel Fernandes, Yakubu and Opara linking up well. Raju Gaikwad had to be at full stretch to deny Opara, who seemed set to test Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in goal.
Trevor Morgan’s side though, settled as the half progressed, and started enjoying more of the possession. They enjoyed particular success down the wings, and Chidi Edeh almost got to the end of it, but Abhishek Yadav headed it clear, just ahead of the Nigerian.
Edeh though continued to probe for an opening and bought out a decent save from Luis Barreto, after cutting in from the right wing and unleashing a powerful drive.
Nicholas Rodrigues was, as always, the most likely Mumbai FC player to create something, and his team-mates often looked to give him the ball on the left-wing. He almost created an opening for Gabriel Fernandes with a venomous cross, which was cleared by Gurpreet, with the Goan striker in close attendance.
The Red and Gold then again asserted their supremacy on the ball, but found it difficult to break through, as the referee blew the whistle to signal half-time.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, with Morgan’s side dominating possession, but having no clear cut chances to speak of.
And the away side were punished for their lack of cutting edge in the final third, when Yusif Yakubu found Gabriel Fernandes on a rare foray upfront for Mumbai FC. The Goan took a touch and then blasted the ball home in the 64th minute, to give his side the lead.
In a desperate bid to get the equaliser, Morgan almost immediately made a trio of substitutions, bringing in Robin Singh, Sanju Pradhan and Lalrindika Ralte, to add some bite upfront.
The substitutions did give something new to the home side to chew on, with Ralte and Chidi going close with headers, but neither were able to test Barreto in goal.
Khalid Jamil threw in Evans Quao and Kamaljeet Kumar into the fray, as he tried to hold on to the lead.
The two defensive substitutions worked, as East Bengal’s threat was completely nullified while Yakubu went to the other end and doubled his side’s lead in the 94th minute with a wonderful solo effort that sealed the points for his club.
Chidi Edeh scored a consolation in the 97th minute, turning sharply and firing past Barreto, but there was no time for a come-back.
The three points took Mumbai FC to 5th place with 19 points. East Bengal stayed static in fourth, with 21 points.
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