Yusif Yakubu who had been drafted in by Khalid Jamil proved to be the inspiration against a mediocre East Bengal display who were outclassed...
Khalid Jamil gave veteran Yusif Yakubu, who had just been roped in, a start while Ahmad Hatifie and Haroon Amiri were the other foreign recruits in the starting eleven.
Meanwhile Armando Colaco was still without the services of midfield general, Mehtab Hossain. With James Moga still missing, Edeh Chidi started upfront with Sueoka operating just behind.
In the 16th minute, a sumptuous Yakubu cross from the right was met acrobatically by Mohammed Rafi but the finish was just wide.
East Bengal then drew themselves level in the 32nd minute as Cavin Lobo drove through the static Mumbai midfield and left the defenders for dead, before smashing the ball into the bottom right corner.
The second half began like the first with East Bengal's midfield failing to string two passes together with Naoba Singh on the right being especially guilty of heavy touches. Barely two minutes in, Yakubu chested a great ball onto the path of the onrushing Pradeep who unfortunately failed to control his shot from the edge of the box.
With the Red and Gold brigade failing to build up any attack at all they were hit with the classic sucker punch in the 65th minute when the dynamic Nicholas Rodrigues sent in a beautiful curling ball from the right which was headed in by Pradeep who beat Okpara in the air.
With ten minutes to go, East Bengal were handed a life line when Hatifie was booked for the second time for an elbow on Sueoka leading to Mumbai being down to ten men. In between Chidi Edeh had smashed a shot into orbit from outside the box while Sueoka had failed to play in the final ball after getting into promising situations.
The Japanese however got a goal back in the 87th minute scoring a header from close range after East Bengal had pushed men forward and were literally battering the Mumbai defense. However in spite of their relentless search for the equaliser with three minutes added on, Jamil's side held strong and came out with all three points after a gritty display.
Sandjar Ahmadi who had come on late as a substitute had to be however taken to the hospital as he had breathing problems.
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