Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky praised his team's resilience and character following a come-from-behind victory against Punjab FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday. 

The thrilling five-goal encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi secured Mumbai City FC's spot in the playoffs and also ensured Odisha FC's qualification as Punjab FC dropped crucial points. 

Lallianzuala Chhangte opened the scoring for the Islanders, but Punjab FC responded with goals from Madih Talal and Wilmar Jordan Gil. In the second half, Mumbai City FC staged a comeback, with Iker Guarrotxena netting a brace to reclaim the lead. Despite Punjab FC's late attempts, their inability to convert chances proved costly. Reflecting on the match, Kratky believed his team deserved the three points and expressed pride in their resilience.

“We dominated possession the whole game. I think we played very good football. We knew that Punjab FC could hurt us in certain situations and already in the first 10 minutes, they showed that they can be strong in transitions. They scored a couple of goals but they were offside, so lucky for us. But again, they sniffed, they had a chance (to score first), but we scored. They came back for 2-1,” he said in the post-match press conference.

“It was an interesting game but overall, I think we deserved to win the game. We were the better team in my opinion. The boys did well and again, they showed their character, especially in the second half and the belief in how we want to play and score goals,” he added. 

Midfielder Yoell Van Nieff played a pivotal role in Mumbai City FC's comeback, effectively screening the defensive line and orchestrating play from the back while maintaining possession. In the second half, Mumbai City FC strategically compacted their midfield, making it challenging for Punjab FC to find space. Petr Kratky emphasised the significance of overloading the midfield to neutralise the threats posed by the opposition.

“We know they have a good midfield and that they try to overload the middle area. So we had to make sure we have good numbers there as well. That was one of the things we were talking about (at half time) because Punjab FC specifically they want a lot of numbers in the middle of the park. And we know that we can overload the middle and we tried to work it out and the boys did well,” he explained.