Mumbai City FC stave off second-half Jamshedpur FC surge to win top-of-the-table clash

Defending champions and league leaders Mumbai City FC strengthened their grip on the top spot in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) with a 4-2 win over second-placed Jamshedpur FC at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Margao, Goa on Thursday.

It was a game of two halves as Mumbai City FC raced to a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Cassio Gabriel (3’), Bipin Singh (17’) and Igor Angulo (24’) before Jamshedpur FC hit back in the second half to pull two goals back through Komal Thatal (48’) and Eli Sabia (55’). However, Ygor Catatau (70’) added a fourth for Mumbai City FC after coming off the bench to seal the victory for the Islanders.

Des Buckingham’s side got off to the best possible starts in a crucial top-of-the-table-clash as Ahmed Jahouh took a corner short to find Gabriel in space outside the box. His cross that was meant for a Mumbai City FC head evaded everyone and beat TP Rehenesh in Jamshedpur FC goal in the third minute as Islanders went ahead.

Jamshedpur FC got a great chance to equalise three minutes later but the Red Miners who had opted to keep Nerijus Valskis on the bench failed to convert a big chance.

There was no such problem for Mumbai City FC though who added a second at the other end after Sabia was brushed off the ball way too easily by Angulo who then drove inside the box to lay it on a plate for Bipin who tapped home from close range to make it 2-0 in the 17th minute.

The Islanders added a third seven minutes later when Gabriel found Angulo inside the box with a line-breaking pass, but the Spaniard who still had a lot to do, turned and curled it into the side netting.

Jamshedpur FC who were shell-shocked were almost opened up again four minutes later when Jahouh found Angulo inside the box but his effort was saved by Rehenesh.

Mumbai City FC bossed large part of the remainder of the first half and had an opening in the final minute of that first half when Angulo once again found himself in space inside the Jamshedpur FC box but he could only find the goalkeeper with his shot.

Mumbai City FC enjoyed a deserved 3-0 lead at the interval but Jamshedpur FC did enjoy some half chances.

Owen Coyle made a positive change bringing in Boris Singh for Pronay Halder at the start of the second half and the Red Miners seemed to have come out a different side.

Komal Thatal pulled one back for his team in the 48th minute when he drove inside the box before firing at goal. His shot took a wicked deflection that beat Nawaz in the Mumbai City FC goal.

Jamshedpur FC came right back into the contest when they made it 3-2 in the 55th minute as Sabia headed home from close range after the ball that rebounded off the upright fell for him two yards out.

Buckingham responded to the turning tide of the match by introducing Vikram Singh and he almost made an instant impact in the 65th minute when he was played in on goal after a swift Mumbai City FC counter-attack but he couldn’t apply the finishing touch as Jamshedpur FC remained within touching distance.

However, another substitute Catatau showed his prowess in front of goal when he latched onto a long ball that the Jamshedpur FC defence failed to deal with before finding the roof of the net with an emphatic finish from a very tight angle in the 70th minute.

Jamshedpur FC though didn’t throw in the towel and kept on attacking the Mumbai City FC goal. Substitute Valskis headed inches over in the 79th minute when an inch-perfect cross from Jordan Murray was missed by Nawaz as it reached the Lithuanian who was caught by surprise.

Nawaz though was up to the task five minutes later when he denied Alex Lima from close range with a fine stop low down to his left.

At the other end, Rehenesh though produced one of the saves of the season so far when he tipped over a powerfully struck drive from Jahouh in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Mumbai City FC claimed the three points and extended their lead at the top of the table to four points as Jamshedpur FC stayed second after the first defeat of the season.

Coyle’s men take on Odisha FC in their next match on Tuesday while Mumbai City FC face Chennaiyin FC a day later.

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