Mumbai City defeat NorthEast United FC 2-0 in ISL IV clash
Guwahati: NorthEast United FC coach Joao De Deus made two changes in the starting XI. Luis Alfonso Paez replaced striker Danilo upfront and Ravi Kumar came in place of Rehenesh TP under the bar who was a shown a red card in their previous match against Kerala Blasters. The team as usual lined up in 4-2-3-1 formation with Len Doungel and Halicharan Narazary deployed on the flanks and Marcinho operating just behind the striker.
Mumbai's Alexandre Guimaraes rang three changes in the starting XI. Davinder Singh, Sanju Pradhan and Thiago Santos came into the side in place of Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Sehnaj Singh and Rafa Jorda. Mumbai City too were shaped in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Balwant Singh spearheading the attack. Sanju and Everton Santos operated on the wings with Thiago Santos playing just behind the forward. Emana was deployed in the central midfield alongside Gerson Vieira.
NorthEast United got an early chance to draw first blood when Marcinho attempted a shot at goal. Luis Paes won possession at the edge of the penalty box and fed Marcinhio but the Brazilian's shot rebounded of the woodwork to keep the scores intact.
The home side dominated proceedings in the first quarter of the match creating more chances. Unfortunately, they lacked firepower in the attacking third. Seminlen Doungel missed a sitter in the 26th minute from Marcinho's pass as the Indian winger failed to find the back of the net from a handshaking distance.
In the 34th minute, Balwant Singh scored the opening goal of the match against the run of the play. Emana forwarded a through ball from a counter attack towards Balwant. NorthEast goalkeeper Ravi Kumar foolishly came out of his line which made it easy for the Mumbai striker who placed the ball in between Kumar's legs to find the back of the net.
De Deus understood the urgency and introduced forward Danilo in the 39th minute in place of defensive midfielder Martin Diaz. He changed the formation of the team to 4-4-2 in quest of an equaliser.
The second half saw the home side with more urgency and as they looked hungry to restore parity but Mumbai backline with Emerson and Vieira in front of them were vigilant enough to cancel out every attack of The Highlanders.
NorthEast coach brought in a second change at the hour mark introducing winger Malemngamba Meetei in place of defender Nirmal Chhetri. The desperation for a goal was evident.
Around the 65th minute mark, Balwant got an empty goal to head in his second goal of the night from Emana's free-kick. Emana curled a brilliant ball inside the penalty ball which found the striker unmarked in the box. The striker's attempted header though went above the cross bar.
Just three minutes later, Balwant Singh finally doubled his tally and his team's lead from another Emana pass. Rowllin Borges carelessly misplaced a pass facing his own goal as Emana pounced on it. He unselfishly fed Balwant on his right who just had to tap in into an empty net.
NorthEast United clearly did not have the finishing prowess upfront. They tried their hearts out and created several chances in the last 20 minutes of the game but failed to produce a goal. Mumbai City FC move up in the league table fourth position in the league table 10 points from seven matches after Wednesday's win. NorthEast United, on the other hand, languish in the second last position with just four points from six outings.