FC Goa ended Mumbai City FC’s nine-match unbeaten run in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 with a 2-0 victory at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday.
The match also saw Goa striker Ferran Corominas score his 29th Hero ISL goal, making him the league’s all-time top goal scorer. He was tied with Iain Hume on 28 goals going into the match.
This was the Islanders’ first defeat since they went down 5-0 to the same opponents in the reverse fixture back in October. The win lifts the Gaurs to the third spot in the table above NorthEast United FC. Mumbai, on the other hand, stays in second place behind Bengaluru FC.
With two of the top four teams in action, the match was expected to be a high-octane one and it lived up to the billing perfectly in the first 20 minutes, despite the lack of any truly dangerous goal scoring chances. Tackles flew in and yellow cards were brandished, but both teams maintained a nice tempo with plenty of attacking intent.
After the 25-minute mark, the Gaurs upped the ante and reaped the benefits almost immediately. Seconds after seeing his shot blocked off by Lucian Goian, Edu Bedia drew first blood as he applied the finishing touches to Ferran Corominas’ low cross. Subhasish Bose did slide in to attempt a last-ditch clearance, but the ball crept into the net.
The second-half began very similarly to the first, with Mandar trying to test Amrinder with an early shot. His curling effort managed to elude the Mumbai custodian’s reach this time, but was a tad too high.
The Islanders’ first big chance of the match came on the 56th minute through a set piece. Mirabaje’s swerving free kick from an odd angle needed a sharp reaction from Goa goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz. The youngster was up to the task and dealt with the danger.
Nawaz’s reflexes were tested yet again just five minutes later. Arnold Issoko broke with pace and fed an onrushing Paulo Machado inside the box. Nawaz made a good save to deny the Mumbai skipper and Mourtada Fall was vigilant to clear the rebound out of the danger zone.
Shortly after, Nawaz was left rooted to his spot when Goian rose high to redirect a pin-point Paulo Machado free kick goalward. Luck, however, was in the Gaurs’ side as the effort hit the underside of the crossbar and came out.
With Mumbai putting pressure on the Goa defence in search of the equaliser, a rare counter attack from the Gaurs earned them a penalty much against the flow of the game. Subhasish brought down Coro inside the penalty box prompting the referee to point to the spot.
The Spaniard calmly converted the penalty to extend Goa’s lead. It was the Coro’s 11th goal of the season and 29th Hero ISL goal overall, taking him past Iain Hume in the list of Hero ISL’s all-time top goal scorers.
The Gaurs could have made it 3-0 in the final seconds of the stoppage time. Substitute Hugo Boumous tore through the Mumbai defence with a powerful solo run and got his shot off. Amrinder, however, made a good stop to save the Islanders any further blushes.
Mumbai will be on the road to play against Jamshedpur FC on February 8, while Goa’s next encounter will be an away fixture against Delhi Dynamos FC on February 4.