Khalid Jamil’s side have moved to the ninth spot in the table as they eased past Desmond Bulpin’s Shillong Lajong…
Mumbai FC registered an impressive 4-1 win against a shaky Shillong Lajong side, to register their second win on the bounce in the I-League, in a match played at the Balewadi Stadium on Saturday.
Khalid Jamil’s side went 2-0 up early in the game, thanks to goals by Nicholas Rodrigues and Gabriel Fernandes. Sushil Kumar Singh pulled one back in the 75th minute before Justin Stephen and ND Opara scored late in the game to seal an emphatic win for the hosts.
The Mumbai based side started with Yusif Yakubu upfront, relegating Abhishek Yadav and ND Opara to the bench yet again.
Desmond Bulpin meanwhile had to do without the services of Ebi Sukore and Minchol Son, who were ruled out due to injury. Lalrinzuala Khangte and Samson Ramengma Wia took their place in the line-up.
Mumbai FC, buoyed by their win against Sporting Clube de Goa in the last set of fixtures, started on the front foot against their North-Eastern visitors.
They made their supremacy count in the 18th minute, when a Nicholas Rodrigues free-kick into the box, nestled into the back of the net, after everyone, including the keeper, was fooled by the flight of the ball.
Within 2 minutes, the hosts doubled their lead, as a Subhas Chakraborty was headed towards goal by Yusif Yakubu, with Gabriel Fernandes tapping it in from less than 2 yards away.
Yakubu himself then had a chance to get on the scoresheet, but he blazed wide when well placed, as Lajong struggled to keep pace with Khalid Jamil’s side.
They did not help themselves either, with silly mistakes by Wailadmi Passah and his fellow defenders leading to a couple of more opportunities for Mumbai FC, which they spurned, much to Khalid Jamil’s anguish.
Ashutosh Mehta missing the easiest of those chances, as after being put through by Evans Quao, he tried to chip the keeper and was easily foiled by Lacthuammawia Ralte.
Eventually the referee blew for half-time, with Mumbai FC holding on to their 2-0 lead.
The second half began in a dull manner, with neither side showing any spark in possession. However Lajong were almost gifted a lead when Luis Barreto in Mumbai FC’s goal horribly miskicked a routine clearance. However he made amends in time, before Sushil Kumar Singh could latch on to the loose ball.
Yakubu then should have put the game to bed close to the hour mark, as Bulpin’s defense went completely to sleep. The veteran though rounded the keeper but then pondered on the ball for way too long, allowing the defenders to nip the ball from his feet.
Sushil Kumar, who had been anonymous till then, then had a decent headed opportunity, but yet again failed to hit the target.
The Indian striker missed another gilt-edged chance before finally halving Lajong’s deficit, when a ball into the box by Subhas Singh was headed in by the forward in the 75th minute. Barreto got his hand to the ball, but could not prevent it from creeping in.
Justin Stephen almost restored the hosts two goal advantage, but his header from a corner produced a stunning save from L. Ralte in goal for Bulpin’s side.
In the 82nd minute though, the custodian was left helpless, as Stephen yet again rose well to meet a Nicholas Rodrigues corner, and this time he found the back of the net to give his side a 3-1 advantage.
ND Opara rounded off the scoreline 4-1 in the favour of the hosts in the 92nd minute, as he controlled a Subhas Chakraborty cross and slotted the ball past the stranded L. Ralte.
The referee then blew the final whistle to bring Shillong Lajong’s misery to an end, with Mumbai FC cutting the deficit between the two sides to one point.
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