Mumbai City FC have booked their berth in the final following a remarkable semi-final win over FC Goa where in the first leg, the Islanders bagged three goals within six minutes to turn the tie around from 2-0 down. In the second leg, they extended their aggregate lead to 5-2 with a convincing win over the Gaurs. 

After traversing through several hurdles and battling through multiple suspensions and injuries along the way, the Petr Kratky-coached side managed a top-two finish in the league getting a direct qualification into the semi-finals. The Islanders finished off the league season with 47 points from their 22 matches, suffering only three defeats in the process. 

In his first-ever tenure as a head coach, Petr Kratky did an excellent job taking over the team from Des Buckingham mid-season and managed to pull his team to the final, following a season where Mumbai City FC displayed impeccable consistency.  

As the team gears up for a mouth-watering clash against Mohun Bagan Super Giant, let’s revisit their journey so far this season.

Kicked off in style

Mumbai City FC kicked off their ISL 2023-24 season with Des Buckimgham at the wheel. The Englishman led the Islanders to a narrow win over NorthEast United FC in their season opener.

The fixture witnessed three goals in a matter of 12 minutes with two from the Islanders and one from NorthEast United FC. 

It was the Argentine goal-machine Jorge Pereyra Diaz who scored Mumbai City FC’s first goal of the season tapping in Lallianzuala Chhangte’s cheeky pass in the 26th minute of the match. NorthEast United FC youngster Parthib Gogoi found the back of the net in the 32nd minute with a banger from outside the box to level the scores. 

Diaz completed his brace as the match went into the 38th minute when he converted Mehtab Singh’s headed cross, scoring the final goal of the night, spearheaded his team to a victorious start to the season.

Nerve-wracking contest against Odisha FC

Taking on Odisha FC at their Kalinga fortress, the Islanders were up for a serious challenge stepping into Matchweek 2. 

The two teams battled one of the most competitive fixtures of the season with their possession stats being 48.2% to 51.8% for the Islanders. Mumbai City FC managed to keep five of their nine shots on target whereas the home team kept four of their seven shots on target.

Jerry Mawihmingthanga scored the only goal of the first half, capitalising on Mohammad Nawaz’s mistake between the posts and putting Odisha FC ahead seconds before the halftime whistle.

Rostyn Griffiths got the Islanders their equalizer two minutes into  the second half, heading home a Greg Stewart corner kick.

Nawaz cost his team yet again when in the 75th minute, he met Roy Krishna with a poor tackle, conceding his team a penalty which the Fijian forward converted with ease, taking the Kalinga Warriors one-goal up yet again. 

With two minutes remaining of regulation time, Jorge Pereyra Diaz’s header off a Vikram Partap Singh cross levelled the scores, concluding the match with the two teams sharing the spoils following a 2-2 draw.

Conquering the Blues

Mumbai City FC registered their biggest win of the season when they played Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in December 2023. 

The Islanders were a step ahead right from kick off as they ended up putting four goals past the Bengaluru FC defence, scoring two on either side of halftime.

Abdenasser El Khayati opened the scoring in the 11th minute drilling the ball into the net from close range. Wing-back Akash Mishra followed it up with a screamer from outside the box in the 30th minute, making the score 2-0 for Mumbai City FC, stepping into the second half.

The away team kept pressuring the Blues right from the beginning of the second half and failing to keep up with it, Robin Yadav ended up conceding his team a penalty for a hand-ball inside his own box. Jorge Pereyra Diaz sent Gurpreet Sandhu Sandhu the wrong way to make the score 3-0. 

Failing to keep up with the pace of Akash Mishra from the wing, Bengaluru FC conceded yet another penalty in the 60th minute. This time, it was Lallianzuala Chhangte who bagged his goal from the spot, concluding the night with a dominating 4-0 win for the away team.

Red cards galore

The Islanders hosted Mohun Bagan SG back in December 2023 in one of the most dramatic fixtures of the league stage as the match went on to witness three goals and a record seven red cards.

Akash Mishra was sent off early in the match for raising his knee on the back of Manvir Singh, bringing the home team down to ten men for the majority of the match. Capitalising on this opportunity, Jason Cummings fired Liston Colaco’s grounded cross into the net, giving the away team a 1-0 lead. 

With a minute of play left of the first half, Greg Stewart pulled the Islanders back into the game heading home Bipin Singh’s cross. 

Not too deep into the second half, Asish Rai and Liston Colaco conceded back-to-back red cards, leaving the Mariners with only nine players on the field. 

The Islanders completed their comeback when Bipin Singh’s shot from right outside the box took a huge deflection off of Anirudh Thapa, with the ball finding the back of the net. 

With two minutes left of regulation time, Greg Stewart received his marching order following a second yellow card for diving.

Although Mumbai City FC succeeded in finishing off the night with all three points, the drama was not yet over. 

Yuste, Vikram, and Bheke all got sent off after the final whistle for getting involved in a tussle, bringing the red card tally of the night to a record seven red cards. 

The first defeat

Mumbai City FC managed to stay unbeaten for their first nine matches of the ongoing ISL season, till they faced off against Kerala Blasters FC in Kochi.

The Blasters made the away team taste their first defeat of the season with goals that went against the tide of the game.

Although Mumbai City FC finished off the match with 64.7% possession, it was Kerala Blasters FC who had more shots on target, three, compared to Mumbai City FC’s one.

Kwame Peprah and Dimitrios Diamantakos combined to score both goals for the Blasters in their 2-0 win, with each getting himself an assist and a goal. 

Fall from the heaven

In one of the most iconic comebacks of the ISL 2023-24 season, Mumbai City FC suffered their second defeat of the season to Jamshedpur FC soon after the commencement of the second half of the league.

Mumbai City FC scored the opener through Tiri’s header within 13 minutes from kick-off, following it up with yet another headed goal, this time by Alberto Noguera. Just as it seemed that the match was all but over for the Men of Steel, it was Imran Khan who brought Jamshedpur FC back in the game, scoring a goal in the 55th minute. 

With the match now brought down to just a goal’s difference, Jeremy Manzorro took it upon himself to complete the comeback. 

The French midfielder powered in a shot from the edge of the box within the next four four minutes, scoring the equalizer for his team.

In the dying minutes of the match, Mehtab Singh’s delayed tackle on Daniel Chima Chukwu cost his team a penalty which Manzorro beautifully placed in the bottom right corner to conclude the match with a 3-2 scoreline for Jamshedpur FC. 

League Shield disappointment

Mumbai City FC’s performance received a significant boost in the second half of the season with Petr Kratky getting accustomed to his players. The Islanders went into the final match of the league stage sitting atop the league table, with a two-point lead over second placed Mohun Bagan SG.

The Mariners needed all three points to overtake Kratky’s men and that’s exactly what they did in front of over 60,000 supporters in Kolkata. 

Liston Colaco gave the home team their lead 28 minutes into the match with an excellent finish from just inside the box, helping the Green and Maroons step into the second half one-goal up.

Deep into the second half, Australian forward Jason Cummings doubled the lead for Mohun Bagan SG, allowing them some space to breathe. In the 89th minute, Lallianzuala Chhangte scored a consolation goal for the Islanders with an exquisite finish from close range.

Road to Kolkata

As the semi-final approached, Mumbai City FC travelled to face FC Goa in the first leg. 

16 minutes from kickoff, Boris Singh converted Mohammad Yasir’s grounded pinpoint cross to give the Gaurs their lead. Captain Brandon Fernandes’ 56th minute banger from outside the box increased the gap to 2-0. But the game was far from over. 

With less than 30 seconds left of regulation time, Lallianzuala Chhangte went past the keeper to bring his team back in the game. Only a minute later, Vikrap Partap Singh stunned the home team scoring the equalizer with a tap-in.

Chhangte struck again within six minutes from his first goal, turning the tie around for the Islanders, making the scoreline 2-3 within a matter of just six minutes.  

As Mumbai City FC entered the second leg at home with a goal’s advantage, strikes from Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Chhangte saw the Islanders conclude the second leg with a 2-0 victory, sending the Islanders into the final with a scoreline of 5-2 on aggregate. 

A massive, hard-fought, and a spirited season for Mumbai City FC has resulted in the side being one step away from their second ISL Cup glory, with the final set to be played in Kolkata May 4.