Resilient all-Indian Mumbai City FC prevail; defeat Chennayin FC 1-0 in Super Cup
Kerala, 19th April: Mumbai City FC emerged victorious in a thrilling game against Chennayin FC winning 1-0 in their final Group D clash of the 2023 Super Cup. On a sultry evening at the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri, Mumbai City’s all-Indian squad showed an undeniable spirit, holding out against a barrage of offensive attempts. Ayush Chhikara scored his maiden goal in the Islanders’ colours and the winner on the night.
However, following NorthEast United’s 6-3 win over Churchill Brothers, tonight’s result was not enough to secure a place in the semifinals of the Super Cup as the Islanders bow out with a win and their head held high
Mumbai City arrived into the fixture with three changes to the unit Phurba Lachenpa was ruled out due to a minor injury as Mohammad Nawaz took his place in goal. The Islanders’ went with a fresh defensive approach with Rahul Bheke alongside Mehtab Singh and Halen Nongtdu. Bipin Singh and Vikram Partap Singh flanked the midfield trio of Rowllin Borges, Apuia and Vinit Rai. Lallianzuala Chhangte started up top alongside the young Ayush Chhikara
Proceedings kicked off with early pressure from Chennayin FC, who did not allow Mumbai City FC to find their rhythm in the first 10 minutes. The Marina Machans tried to strangle the Islanders, crowding them every time they were in possession. However, it wasn’t long before the Islanders gave a glimpse of their lightning-quick offensive potency.
In the 9th minute, Rowllin Borges from deep in the Mumbai City box deployed an incisive long ball and immediately put Chhangte into play on the right. Chhangte burst forward with pace and played into a nearly empty box, only for it to be cleared by Vafa.
Nawaz was called into action in the 14th minute when Dueker played a long grounded ball to Rahim who dribbled his way into the box and fired a low driven shot that was kept out by a spectacular save by Nawaz, diving to his right.
Slowly but surely, the Islanders began to settle down and put together promising moves speared by the industrious Rowllin Borges, who was exemplary in the first quarter of the game. The forward line that was locked in during the initial minutes of the game, began to surge forward and get into critical positions in the final third of the pitch and particularly on the flanks.
In the 19th minute, an illegal back pass into Samik Mitra’s hands in the Chennaiyin goal, forced by the pressure from the Mumbai forward line, led to an indirect free kick on the edge of the six-yard box. Rowllin Borges let fly a driven strike that was deflected by a tightly packed Chennayin defence on the goal line.
Soon after in the 25th minute, the touch of Apuia from the centre of the park found Vikram with a lobbed through ball as he was surging forward on the right wing. The move looked like trouble for Chennayin FC before Narayan denied the move with a good piece of defending. The resulting corner was delivered in by Rowllin Borges who found Vikram on the near post with a flat cross, but Vikram could not find the desired connection
In the 33rd minute, Mumbai City broke the deadlock. The play began with Rahul Bheke just outside the Mumbai box as he played a quick ball to Chhangte, who cleverly played in Bipin Singh, behind the defenders. Bipin burst forward on the left flank with intent and as he penetrated the box, he deftly slid it across the six-yard box, on a platter for a young Ayush Chhikara who find the back of the net for his first ever goal for the club. The effort put Mumbai City FC ahead, 1-0.
Minutes before half time, Chhikara was fouled on the right wing, earning his team a free kick. Chhangte stepped up to take the set piece for his team as he floated a diagonal ball around the far post for Bheke to head it in, but the attempt was collected by goalkeeper Samik Mitra. Half time approached with the scoreline at 1-0 in favour of the Islanders.
As the second half commenced, initial proceedings mirrored the first half. Chennayin FC once again looked to be on their offence. Their sense of urgency was abundantly clear, but they were unable to sting a threatening attack against the compact defensive line of the Islanders.
An exception occurred in the 52nd minute when Edwin delivered a precise cross from the edge of the penalty box, and Karikari, who had evaded the Mumbai defence, rose to powerfully head the ball towards the goal, but Nawaz was ready to make yet another critical save.
Mumbai City FC displayed tremendous resolve as they endured a great deal of pressure from the Chennayin forward line and refused to crumble defensively. While in possession, the Islanders did not slow down their ball movement and continued to hunt for a second goal.
Mehtab Singh, who had a tremendous first half, continued his rich vein of form in the second half. In the 60th minute, Mehtab made a heroic block, putting his body on the line to deflect a venomous strike in the box from Vafa.
Mumbai City FC made their first substitution in the 60th minute, replacing goal scorer Ayush Chikkara with Gurkirat Singh to replenish the firepower in front of goal on a blistering hot evening.
Apuia was the architect of yet another chance in the 62nd minute. He played forward a lovely, weighted ball to Chhangte on the left flank with pinpoint precision. Chhangte glided into the box, flummoxing the Chennayin defence with his footwork, after a series of stepovers he gave it back to Apuia who instantly teed up Vinit on the edge of the box. However, Vinit’s attempt was wayward.
65 minutes into the game, Bipin was on the prowl again. In a cunning display of game awareness, he spotted Samik out of position and let one fly, but the Chennayin keeper managed to pull off the save nonetheless.
Mumbai City FC continued their impressive defensive resilience, leaving no stone unturned in their endeavour to maintain their clean sheet. Every time Chennayin found a promising position, they were met by a tenacious blue shirt at the end of their ball.
In the 73rd minute, the experienced Rabhul Bheke made another imperative block. Duker tried to square it into the box, but was denied by the Mumbai skipper. In the 79th minute, Mehtab came to the rescue yet again, after a promising move down the right flank, Karirkari fired for Chenayyin in the box, but it was blocked by Mehtab yet again, to continue his stellar game.
Hardik Bhatt came on to replace Vikram Partap Singh in the 80th minute, as the Marina Machaans were consistently trying to penetrate the Mumbai defence through the flanks. Similarly Vignesh replaced Chhangte and took his place on the left flank.
The end of the second half saw the fourth official indicate seven minutes of stoppage time, but the Mumbai unit held on to their clean sheet, to take the full three points from the encounter. Unfortunately, the result did not suffice to secure a place in the semi-finals for the Islanders.
Mumbai City’s 2022-23 season comes to an end. A historic ISL campaign, where the Islanders broke nearly every possible record including remaining unbeaten for 18 games on their way to winning the ISL League Winners’ Shield, will forever be remembered. Des Buckingham’s side followed up their ISL heroics by beating Jamshedpur FC and sealing their spot in the 2023-24 AFC Champions League Group Stage – a second consecutive appearance in Asia’s premier club competition. The Islanders capped the season off by taking an all-Indian squad to the Super Cup and displaying solid performances, furthering their commitment to the development of Indian football.
Also Read: Farukh Choudhary rises from the ashes ahead of Hero Super Cup semis
Also Read: A sweet home coming for North East United’s Kerala lads Alex Saji and Emil Benny
Coach’s trust goes a long way in building a player’s career, says Akash Mishra
In the last nine matches the Indian senior men’s team have played, Akash Mishra has not been on the pitch for only 12 minutes. Such has been his rise over…
Manolo Marquez: I know we’ll field a good team and enjoy a good season
Manolo Marquez, speaking in his first press conference since being announced as FC Goa’s new head coach sounded upbeat about the upcoming 2023-24 season, as he takes over the reins…
Shashwat Panwar on a journey of improvement with India U-17s
NEW DELHI: The India U-17 Men’s National Team have been on an impressive run in their training camps in Spain and Germany, pitting themselves against the youth teams of some of…
Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023: A quick-start guide to the Blue Tigers’ opponents
BHUBANESWAR: Since its inception in 2018, the Hero Intercontinental Cup has not been just a four-nation tournament, but also a convergence of various footballing styles and cultures. The inaugural edition was staged…
132nd Durand Cup to reach Shillong and Kokrajhar
Kolkata, June 07, 2023: The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the 132nd Durand Cup football tournament, today announced Shillong in Meghalaya and Kokrajhar in Assam, as the newest host cities for the…
India U-17s beat Muang Thong United in training game
NEW DELHI: The India U-17 Men’s National Team defeated Muang Thong United U-17s 3-0 at the Kirin Valley Sports Complex in Khoyai, Thailand, on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Korou Singh gave…
Vikram Partap Singh signs extension with Mumbai City FC until 2026
Mumbai, 7 June 2023: Mumbai City FC are delighted to announce that Vikram Partap Singh has signed a three-year contract extension, keeping him with the Islanders until May 2026. The 21-year-old prodigious…
Hero Intercontinental Cup / Indian Football Team
From Chhetri to the Future: Time for the Young Strikers to take charge
As Indian football legend Sunil Chhetri nears the end of his illustrious career, the time has come for the young strikers in the Indian national team to step up and…
Stimac bullish before Hero Intercontinental Cup opener against Mongolia
BHUBANESWAR: The India Senior Men’s Team will begin their Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 campaign with a first-ever meeting against Mongolia on Friday, June 9, 2023, at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar…
Indian Super League / Transfer News
Local lad Rahul Bheke signs one-year contract extension with Mumbai City FC
Mumbai City FC defender Rahul Bheke has signed a one-year contract extension with the Club, extending his stay with the Islanders until the end of the 2023-24 season. The 32-year-old…
Somaiya Sports Academy to conduct trials for MFA 2nd Division campaign
Somaiya Sports Academy is looking for passionate young football players for the Somaiya Sports Academy Football Team to compete in the MFA 2nd Division League 2023-2024. If selected, you will…
BFC Soccer Schools – Mumbai to conduct trials for U14 & U16 Girls
The BFC Soccer Schools Elite team girls’ trials are coming up in search of talented players from the U14 to U16 (Born 2009 and after) age groups into the club’s…
Opportunity to make the team: U.K.M. Kothrud FC conducts selection trials for girls team
Pune-based U.K.M. Kothrud FC has announced that they will be conducting selection trials for their girl’s team on 15th January 2023 The club welcomes all players to come and showcase…
The Sunday Football League Season 4 is back
The Sunday Football League is back with its fourth season, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet. With eight talented teams competing at the Kes Kandivali turf, there…
BFC Soccer Schools Elite team trials in Feb
Bengaluru FC launched their Mumbai program last season with the Soccer Schools and Elite programs with its local partner Soccer Schools of Excellence (SSE). Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club…
India Khelo Football Season 2 Trials in Mumbai: A Chance to Kickstart Your Football Career
After conducting trials in 34 cities & villages across India, India Khelo Football is coming to Mumbai to hunt talent on 7th January. India Khelo Football kickstarted its season 2…
Elite Division / MDFA / Trials
Mumbai Customs to conduct trials for Elite League
Former champions Mumbai Customs will be holding open trials for the upcoming MFA Elite Corporate League (Elite Division) The 2019 MFA Elite Division champions Mumbai Customs are conducting open trials…
Sunday Boys to hold trials for MFA 1st Division
MFA 1st division side Sunday Boys FC will be conducting trials in the first week of November for the upcoming football season Sunday Boys Football Club was established in the…
Elite Division / MDFA / Trials
Millat FC to hold trials for MFA Elite Premier League
Millat FC – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season Millat had a decent run in…
Elite Division / MDFA / Trials
MFA Elite Division club KSA to conduct trials for the upcoming season
Karnataka Sporting Association (KSA) – a club plying their trade in MFA Elite Division will be conducting open trials for their upcoming 2022-23 season Last season KSA had an amazing…