Mumbai City FC finish seventh after holding NorthEast United to 1-1 draw

Mumbai City FC

Mumbai: Mumbai City FC held NorthEast United FC to a 1-1 draw at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati to finish seventh in the inaugural Hero Indian Super League on Wednesday.

Sushil Kumar Singh (84th minute) cancelled out Koke’s penalty (34th minute) to ensure that Mumbai City FC finished above the hosts with 16 points from 14 matches.

 

Even before the final league encounter between the two bottom-placed sides began, it was clear that the mathematic chance of Mumbai City FC making it to the last four had evaporated with Atletico de Kolkata managing to hold FC Goa to a 1-1 draw. This meant that the encounter being played in Guwahati became a battle to avoid the wooden spoon and it was the visitors who made the first move as the team attacked relentlessly in the first half.

 

Sushil Singh, who came in for Nicolas Anelka, almost put Mumbai City FC ahead in the fourth minute when he got the better of Kondwani Mtonga in the opposition box but his shot from an acute angle failed to beat NorthEast United FC goalkeeper Rehenesh.

 

The visitors continued to push ahead but that allowed a few opening for the hosts and Tomas Josl made the most of it when burst into the Mumbai City FC box and was according to the referee brought down by Deepak Mondal, which the experienced defender contested. Koke calmly slotted home the ensuing penalty past Subrata Pal and NorthEast United then held on to the advantage till half-time.

However, Mumbai City FC continued to maintain the pressure and came close to scoring twice – first when NorthEast United custodian Rehenesh managed to parry off a low strike from Abhishek Yadav in the 66th minute and then Laldinka Ralte’s pile driver hit the crossbar five minutes later.

But Sushil finally ensured that Mumbai City would come home with their first-ever away point when he nodded home a cross from Jan Stohanzl in the 84th minute after a short corner routine.

Nadong Bhutia could have put the visitors ahead in the 89th minute but he failed to capitalise on the rebound following Dika’s attempt from long range.

Mumbai City FC coach Peter Reid was happy with Wednesday’s game. “It was a well played match. I think we missed out on a few chances, and so did North East. But that’s football, and overall it was a great game,” he said. “The whole ISL was a great experience,” the coach added.

Mumbai City FC assistant coach Steve Darby said, “India should now concentrate on I-League. The ISL had a lot of foreign strikers. I-League gives them a chance to develop Indian strikers, and India should focus on that.”

For Mumbai City FC their inaugural ISL campaign is over, but the team will come back next season stronger and push for a better finish.

 

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