Mumba City's midfield general Ahmed Jahouh was given the marching orders just minutes before the half time break and the Islanders were reduced to 10-men for the rest of the game.
Sergio Lobera’s side dictated the game right from the off. The Spanish coach deployed a 4-2-2-2 formation with Hernan Santana and Sarthak Golui as central defenders. Ahmed Jahouh and Rowllin Borges took on the role of deep-lying midfielders.
Hugo Boumous was given a free role and operated right behind the two forwards Bartholomew Ogbeche and Adam Le Fondre.
Mumbai were the team with more possession throughout the first half and Jahouh orchestrated the game from the centre of the pitch. Unfortunately, the Islanders could not convert their dominance into goals as NorthEast United defence did well to deny any space in the attacking third.
Disaster struck the away side just two minutes from half time when their key midfielder Jahouh was sent off after a clumsy and unnecessary challenge on Khassa Camara near the centre circle.
The Highlanders looked confident in their approach as the second half resumed and won a penalty two minutes from the restart. Dylan Fox tried to head the ball in from a dangerous cross from Luis Machado and the ball hit Borges’ hand inside the box. Kwesi Appiah converted the spot-kick to hand his team the lead.
The red card and goal completely changed the complexion of the match. To add more firepower in attack, Gerard Nus introduced Federico Gallego and Britto PM. The Uruguayan's inclusion enhanced NorthEast's intensity in the final third.
Jahouh's absence was felt in the midfield as Lobera's men failed to put pressure on Nus' men. Defenders Benjamin Lambot and Dylan Fox stood firm and did not allow their opponents to get back into the game.