Mumbai City FC vs FC Goa: The rise of a rivalry

When defending champions Mumbai City FC face FC Goa in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) on Monday, it won’t be just a match-up between two teams that are likely to challenge for the title come the end of the season.

Mumbai City FC and FC Goa go a long way in the Hero ISL and have played out some of the most fascinating contests in the competition’s history. And when that happens, there is a birth of a rivalry, a healthy rivalry, but a rivalry nonetheless.

The two teams have played each other 18 times in the Hero ISL. The Islanders have played more games against the Gaurs than any other team, while FC Goa have played more games against Mumbai City than all teams except Chennaiyin FC.

The Gaurs have scored 38 goals against Mumbai City FC, more than they have scored against any other opposition in the Hero ISL. This is also the highest any team has scored against any opposition in Hero ISL history. Mumbai City’s three worst losses in Hero ISL history have come at the hands of FC Goa. A 7-0 loss in November 2015, A 5-0 loss in October 2018, and a 5-1 loss in March 2019.

But there’s more to this simmering rivalry than just on-field results. Last season, Mumbai City FC under new ownership raided FC Goa and signed five key players from the Gaurs in Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall, Hugo Boumous, Mandar Rao Dessai and Amey Ranawade. The Islanders also roped in head coach Sergio Lobera who had been sacked by the Gaurs just a season before adding more spice to the rivalry.

Even ahead of the new season, Mumbai City FC brought FC Goa’s top scorer Igor Angulo to the club to further weaken their challengers.

As we prepare for this big marquee clash in the Hero ISL, here’s a look back at the key encounters between the two teams that provide a timeline of this growing rivalry in Indian football.

FC Goa 0-0 Mumbai City FC (November 9, 2014): The first meeting between the two teams was hardly an indicator of what this fixture would go on to represent as Zico and Peter Taylor’s team played out a drab goalless draw in Goa.

Mumbai City FC 2-0 FC Goa (October 25, 2015): The Islanders recorded their first win over the Gaurs as Sunil Chhetri and Frederic Piquionne scored in a thoroughly deserving 2-0 victory for Nicholas Anelka’s men at the Dr DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. It was one of only three defeats that Zico’s men suffered that season as they ended the campaign on top of the table.

FC Goa 7-0 Mumbai City FC (November 17, 2015): The Gaurs avenged the loss against the Islanders earlier in the season with an emphatic performance. Thongkhoisem Haokip and Dudu Omagbemi netted hat-tricks as FC Goa completely overwhelmed Mumbai City FC. This remains the biggest win in Hero ISL history and the only match where more than one player scored a hat-trick.

FC Goa 3-4 Mumbai City FC (January 28, 2018): One of the best games between the two sides. Ferran Corominas scored twice for the Gaurs along with Manuel Lanzarote. While  Everton Santon, Achile Emana and Thiago Santos netted for the Mumbai City FC who had numerical advantage for almost a whole half after Seriton Fernandes’ red. The see-saw battle finally turned Mumbai’s way when Balwant Singh scored the winner in the 86th minute.

FC Goa 5-0 Mumbai City FC (October 24, 2018): Lobera’s Goa handed Mumbai a hiding in Goa as Miguel Fernandez netted a brace along with goals from Corominas, Jackichand Singh and Edu Bedia. The Islanders recovered from this loss to go on a nine-match unbeaten run to qualify for the semi-finals where they would meet FC Goa.

Mumbai City FC 1-5 FC Goa (March 9, 2019): Mumbai City FC prepared for revenge in the 2018-19 semi-finals against FC Goa but got more of the same as Lobera’s men killed the tie in the first leg with a thumping 5-1 victory. Fall, Corominas, Jackichand and Brandon Fernandes were on the scoresheet for the Gaurs. Mumbai City FC won the return leg 1-0 but it was not enough. 

FC Goa 5-2 Mumbai City FC (February 12, 2020): The FC Goa hoodoo continued for Jorge Costa’s Mumbai City FC as they fell to another heavy defeat to the Gaurs. Corominas and Jackichand were once again on the scoresheet along with Boumous as the Gaurs then under Clifford Miranda inched closer to the historic AFC Champions League spot.

Mumbai City FC 3-3 FC Goa (February 8, 2021): An absolute thriller last season that saw Mumbai thrice take the lead only for Goa to equalise three times with the third leveller coming in the sixth minute of stoppage time when Ishan Pandita popped up. Mumbai were much the stronger side but Goa showed their spirit on the night.

Mumbai City FC 2-2 FC Goa - Mumbai win 6-5 on penalties (March 8, 2021): The two semi-final ties were not the most entertaining games but were extremely intense as the two coaches were involved in a battle of chess. There was no winner after 210 minutes with Mumbai City FC edging their way into the final on penalties.

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