Mumbai City FC fall to determined Al-Shabab in AFC Champions League
Mumbai City FC kick-started their their first AFC Champions League campaign with a 0-3 loss to Al-Shabab at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, on Friday evening.
Goals from Ever Banega (34’,69’) and Al Ammar (77’) sealed the victory in the Saudi Arabian sides' favour.
Al-Shabab had a chance to score as early as in the 2nd minute, but Islanders' custodian Phurba Lachenpa expertly saved the shot. Just minutes later, Bipin Singh had the first opportunity for MCFC, but his shot went wide.
Later on, Vikram Singh brilliantly dribbled the ball into the Al-Shabab box, but he failed to find his teammates with the subsequent pass. The Islanders maintained pressure early in the first half.
Both sides created chances after tidy passages of play but neither finished off those chances.
Close to the mid-way point of the first half, Al-Shabab had two back-to-back chances to draw first blodd in the game but the shots were off target. A few minutes later, Paulinho had a golden opportunity to convert, however Lachenpa denied him.
Ahmed Sharahli found himself at the end of a beautiful pass and the goal was wide open, yet, his shot sailed over the crossbar.
In the 34th minute, Paulinho was brought down by Lachenpa on the edge of the penalty box, with the referee pointing to the spot. Ever Banega converted it to give Al-Shabab the lead.
The Saudi Arabian outfit started to control the game after taking the lead and headed into the break with a one-goal advantage.
Al-Shabab had two chances to strike early in the second half, but the Mumbai City FC shot-stopper and Mehtab Singh denied Marius Sumudica‘s side from doubling their advantage.
Just like the first half, the second half of the game was a fiery contest and both teams were able to create chances, but they failed to convert eventually.
Ever Banega got his second goal of the game in the 69th minute of the game after some great build-up play by the entire Al-Shabab unit.
As time progressed, Des Buckingham’s side failed to create any clear chances. They were made to pay for these missed chances in the 78th minute, when Al Ammar extended their lead and sealed the victory.
The Islanders will be up against Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in their next AFC Champions League group stages clash, at the King Fahd International Stadium, in Riyadh, on April 11.