ISL 2017-18: Mumbai City keep playoff hopes alive with win over insipid ATK
ISL
The Ranbir Kapoor co-owned side rallied to edge past the defending champions, who are now winless in their last six games...

ATK were handed their fifth defeat at home this 2017-18 Indian Super League (ISL) season as Mumbai City FC's 2-1 win at the Salt Lake Stadium helped keep their hopes of reaching the playoffs alive.

Marcio Rozario (32') and Rafa Jorda (53') scored their first ever ISL goals on either side of a Bipin Singh (47') strike as the Kolkata side handed Mumbai City a fresh lease of life.

In a slew of surprises, both sides made questionable changes to their lineups. Tom Thorpe's injury once again left Ashley Westwood with limited overseas options as he could field only four foreigners. Anwar Ali, who recovered from his hamstring injury took to the field once again at the heart of defence after six weeks.

Balwant Singh and Thiago Santos, the pair who raked in eleven goals for Mumbai City, were not included in the team. While the Indian striker was on the bench as Rafa Jorda was given a rare chance from the start, the on-loan playmaker from Flamengo was missing from the matchday squad altogether.

The visitors came out strong as Achille Emana dictated proceedings, playing a much-advanced role on the day. However, it was Jayesh Rane's through ball for Conor Thomas inside the box that ruffled Mumbai City feathers in the 22nd minute. The former Swindon Town man had a chance to play it to Martin Paterson but chose to slam it right into Amrinder Singh, much to the dismay of the ATK supporters.

Anwar Ali's moment of indecision in the penalty arc cost his side a goal after half an hour of play. The veteran defender brought down Jorda at the end of a long ball from Sehnaj Singh. Marcio Rozario stepped up to convert the resultant free-kick to bring up his first ISL goal. Soram Poirei, playing his second consecutive match, could have much done better as he got a hand to it.

Sehnaj Singh was awarded his sixth yellow card of the season with five minutes to go in the first half for a silly tackle on Jayesh Rane. Achille Emana and Ryan Taylor too were involved in a tussle and were booked by the referee as the game saw three yellow cards in the first period itself.

Before the resumption of play, Conor Thomas was seen taking instructions from Westwood on the touchline and seemed to apply it immediately. Starting from the back, Keegan Pereira found Jayesh Rane on the left and he then squared it to Thomas. The midfielder made amends for his earlier miss as he released Bipin Singh, who went past Gerson Vieira and finished off between Amrinder Singh's gates to bring up the equaliser two minutes into the second half.

The balance was short-lived as Rafa Jorda scored his first ISL goal in his tenth appearance. A Mumbai City corner which was cleared fell right into Sahil Tavora's feet who chipped forward to Sanju Pradhan. The Sikkim-born, playing against his former team, delivered a pinpoint cross into the box as the Spaniard leapt to head the ball on the angle. A lot was left to be desired from his marker Ashutosh Mehta as the right-back hardly attempted to go in for the ball.

With more than half an hour to go, the game slowed down as usual suspects Robin Singh, Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Balwant Singh were brought in but hardly influenced the game for their respective sides. Prabir Das too made an appearance after three games and Lucian Goian was given a run out in the dying embers of the game.

Ryan Taylor could have equalised from 35 yards out in injury time but his set-piece ricocheted off the crosspiece.

Mumbai City remained seventh with the win but now have twenty points from fifteen games, four points adrift of fourth-placed Jamshedpur with a game in hand. The Islanders face the two bottom-placed sides next as NorthEast United and Delhi Dynamos lineup in their fixtures list.

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