Airtel i-League 2013-14: Mumbai FC triumph over Churchill Brothers

Churchill Brothers tasted a home defeat against Mumbai FC at Duler Stadium in Airtel i-League 2013-14 Round 3 encounter, Picture Courtesy:

Airtel i-League 2013-14 Results
Churchill Brothers 0-2 Mumbai FC
MFC: Orok Essien (46th minute), Climax Lawrence (87th)

Mumbai FC logged a memorable first-ever away game win over Churchill Brothers in the Goans backyard on Saturday. Victory was their first in the on-going I-League 2013-14.

Maiden second half goals by striker Orok Essien (46th minute) and midfielder Climax Lawrence (87th) completed an impressive 2-0 score-line over the defending champions in a Round-3 encounter at the Duler Stadium, Mapusa.

The achievement added spice as Mumbai FC jumped from sixth spot into second spot behind United S.C. Mumbai FC (5 points) trail leaders United SC (6 points; 2 matches) and are unbeaten.

Overall this was the second time ever that Mumbai FC had beaten the Goans in 11 meetings. The other win (2-1) was logged in a home game at Balewadi Sports Complex.

Victory apart, Mumbai FC’s feat was possible after standout performances by custodian Kunal Sawant who saved a penalty-kick taken by Henry Antchouet in the first half, before making a goalline save in the next. Similarly, Valeriano Rebello timely clearance to deny rival striker Henry and a solid performance by Haroon Amiri, Kamaljeet Kumar and debutant Sandjar Ahmadi led to Mumbai FC’s success.  

Mumbai FC went into the game making one change to their side. Injured John Coutinho made way for Afghanistan international Sandjar, who seemed to be a target on many occasions by the Goans.

Sandjar, in fact, impressed from kick off. From the right he found his cross for Essien into the penalty area go abegging and then a flicked on header to Essien get cut off.

Two minutes into the game, Sandjar decided to try himself. He let go a well struck long range, but wide. Mumbai FC’s intentions from the outset were clear and clearly unfolded into territorial dominance.

As the game settled, Mumbai FC’s Valeriano did well to cut off a cross denying Balwant Singh in a 1-1 situation. Central defender Anwar Ali did well to intercept a through pass by Satish Singh for Henry.

Mumbai FC enjoyed territorial dominance and threatened the opponents in the 20th minute with their best chance. Ashutosh Mehta cut back to swing in a cross from the right for Essien. However the striker fumbled allowing Hamed Adesope to clear.

Six minutes later Mumbai FC forced two back to back corners. The first had defender D. Ravanan clear ahead of Mumbai FC’s Anwar, before the defender connected the next, but wide.

At the other end, the Goans tested the Mumbai FC defence. However, both Amiri and Kamaljeet did well, bring up their best to cut Henry in his stride as he lurked on the top of box.

Mumbai FC kept pressing. Nicolas Rodrigues in the 35th minute swung in a free-kick from the right only to have Amiri miss the target.

Five minutes short of the breather, Mumbai FC conceded a penalty-kick. Valeriano in his haste brought down Bineesh Balan on the left edge on the penalty area. Henry, who stepped up, tried Mumbai FC’s keeper Kunal to his left. The goalkeeper read the kick well, blocked and also managed to keep the ball from trickling over the goalline. With Henry pouncing on the opportunity, Kunal once again threw his body in the way, before Amiri cleared the ball.

Having endured the close call, both teams settled for the breather locked 0-0.

On resumption, Mumbai FC took under a minute to take the lead. Striker Essien chasing a long ball played by Amiri on the left, did well to evade the sliding challenge of defender Satish Singh before finishing to the far post with a curling effort past custodian Lalit Thapa.

A minute later, Kamaljeet needed to be stretchered off after Henry fouled him, then Sandjar was subjected to a couple of robust tackles.

Six minutes past the hour, Mumbai FC's defenders lived dangerously. Defender Anwar tracking a Hugo Machado chip into the penalty area for Henry ended up hastily clearing the ball that missed the goal narrowly.

Keeping the hosts at bay, Mumbai FC had the entire team fall back. In the 82nd minute keeper Kunal came off with another goalline save. Striker Henry, positioned 10-yards out well, directed the ball goalward after failing to control Sanjan Singh’s cross from the right.

Two minutes later, Kunal punched over a Hugo free-kick from 35 yards out.

After holding out well, Mumbai FC did well with the stray ball they had in the opponents half. An Amiri clearance to Sandjar on the right saw the latter play a pass across the width of the field. Nicolas picking up the pass released a measured chip ahead of a retrieving Anthony Pereira to Climax who utalised being unmarked and dig the volley home from 7 yards out

Into injury time, Mumbai FC's Valeriano ensured his team walked out with a clean sheet thwarting a certain goal by Henry who chased a  long  ball, got in the clear and managed to tap over the onrushing Kunal.
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