Mumbai City FC add-on to Delhi Dynamos' woes as they beat them 2-0 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday. Modou Sougou and Arnold Issoko were on target to guide the home side to a crucial win.
With the seventh-placed team playing the eighth, both the coaches a couple of changes in the starting XI. For the home side, Ravi Kumar replaced the injured Amrinder Singh between the sticks, while Souvik Ghosh was replaced by Joyner Lourenco. For Delhi, Romeo Fernandes and Vinit Rai were given the nod ahead of Bikramjit Singh and Nandhakumar. After a few erratic minutes, the first half-chance of the match fell in the way of the visitors.
Chhangte’s cross from the left was unconvincingly headed away by Goian and the loose ball fell to Romeo, whose volley flew a few yards above the bar. Around 10 minutes later, Kaluderovic tested Ravi with a long ranger, but the TFA graduate parried it away.
After a drab quarter of an hour, the hosts drew the first blood on the half-hour mark. Arnold left with some greenery ahead of him on the right wing, ring in a low cross into the area which was poked home by a diving Sougou.
It was a soft goal to concede for the travellers, who had had slight dominance over the proceedings till that point. The Senegalese striker could have completed his brace in the next minute when Rafael Bastos claimed the ball in the midfield with a sliding tackle and played a neat through ball to Sougou, whose effort was thwarted by Dorronsoro. Gombau made Chhangte and Romeo swap wings soon after, but that led to precious little as the hosts strengthened their grip on the game.
AArnoldsprung to life, taking on defenders and feeding Sougou with quality balls, but the latter couldn’t make the best out of them. The half-time whistle earned the away team a much-needed breather with Mumbai clearly sitting in the driver’s seat.
There was more drama just after play resumed in the second half. Arnold’s pace had been a constant threat for the Dynamos’ defence and this time, Rana Gharami had to take him down inside the area.
Rafael Bastos, however, couldn’t convert the penalty-kick even after sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. On the 58th minute, Rene Mihelic created a chance almost out of nothing when he rattled the crossbar from an acute after Romeo supplied him with a through ball.
A couple of minutes later, the hosts embarked on a quick counter and Souvik played it to Sougou, whose effort from 25 yards out was saved by Dossonsoro. In the very next move, Arnold shot with the outside of his boot after catching the custodian off his line, but it landed on the roof of the net.
Dynamos also had a chance of their own, when Zuiverloon’s scuffed effort fell to Chhangte on the right edge of the box. His curler seemed destined to hit the top corner, only to be fisted away by Ravi Kumar.
Delhi’s plan to go with a high defensive line seemed detrimental as Arnold was fed with a through ball by Bastos from their own half. With no defender to be seen within a 10-yard radius, the Congolese winger dribbled past the onrushing goalkeeper and slotted the ball home into an open goal from the edge of the box.
For Delhi, substitute Adrian Perez hit the target on the 85th minute, but the shot was blocked, while Ravi saved Romeo’s side-volley in the added time. It was the last noteworthy action of a match where the dominance of the away team waned with every passing minute.
With this loss, Dynamos are now on the eighth place in the ladder while Mumbai have moved up to 5th place, tied on points with ATK, Bengaluru FC and Goa, the last two of whom have played a couple of matches less than them. The capital-based side will now host NorthEast United in their battle to stay out of the bottom two, while Mumbai will travel south to face struggling defending champions Chennaiyin FC.