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Indian Super League

ISL 2017-18: Mumbai City FC live to fight another day

3:21 pm AEDT 23/2/18
Achille Emana Mumbai City FC NorthEast United FC ISL
The Islanders won their final home game of the season which has kept them in the race for a top four spot…

Eelco Schattorie is a known face in Indian football. The Dutch coach has previously worked at United SC and East Bengal. Although he won the IFA Shield in Kolkata and professes a possession-based system, his NorthEast United side aren’t competent enough to do so.

The Highlanders gave away the ball cheaply in the opening 20 minutes and paid the price as Achille Emana slammed home with goalkeeper TP Rehenesh beaten at his near post; certainly the former East Bengal custodian should have done much better.

Mumbai continued to march forward in order to improve the score-line however, the gaps left at the back was exposed. John Mosquera should have at least scored a couple but his wastefulness didn’t help.

They got a fortuitous goal and also capitalized on a mistake from a set-piece as Sambinha put the visitors into the lead.

After the break, it looked like NorthEast chose to sit back and didn’t attack. They allowed Mumbai to put pressure and eventually the home side got their equalizer through Everton Santos. There was some atrocious defending on the part of the NorthEast defenders as well. In fact, Mumbai could have got a penalty when Nirmal Chettri was seen pulling the shirt of Santos inside the box.

Mumbai had 60 per cent possession in the second half and attempted 14 shots of which only three were on target. In the second half, NorthEast could only tally one-third of the aerial duels Mumbai won. Literally, the home side had the game under their control.

Schattorie brought in Danilo Lopez to replace Fanai Lalrempuia for the final quarter of the game but the move didn’t pay off as Mumbai continued to march forward. They eventually got the winner through skipper Goian.

Schattorie blasted Mumbai City FC for not stopping the game when Mosquera was down on the ground in the lead up to the move where the goal was scored. The Dutchman was seen arguing with the Mumbai bench and was asked to back-off by the match officials.

“It's not sporting if they overlooked the injury and sneaked in a goal. Yeah yeah, they didn't see the ball, my a**! I apologize for going to their side (to complain). I am not sure what kind of injury obliges the referee to stop the game but for Mumbai to pretend they didn't see it is bull***t,” said the former United SC coach.

The assistant coach’s anger is clearly misdirected. Instead of expressing his disappointment over the referee’s decision to continue the game, why would you place blame on the opposition, a team which needs to score with three minutes to go to keep their season alive?

His choice of words left a bitter taste in the mouth for those at the Mumbai Football Arena. Those acquainted from his days at East Bengal and United SC, Schattorie losing his temper isn’t something new.

“I don't compare myself with Jose Mourinho, but that's my personality. If they shout at me, I will put my chest up and tell them to come. This is something everyone has to learn and I also have to learn how to keep your emotion and pride under control. I showed temper and that means I like to win,” he had said in one of his earlier press conferences in India which pretty much sums his persona.

"I always get upset when TV pundits say Delhi are playing nice football but they cannot get the ball forward. They have no idea what they are talking about," he had taken aim at the TV pundits in such fashion earlier. 

NorthEast United have had a disappointing season and they need to go back to the drawing board to understand how wrong they have been.

Mumbai City FC have another two games to go and should they win, they would have a decent chance of booking a berth in the knockouts. They have thrown the race to qualify for the top four wide open.