Goals by Greg Stewart, Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Vikram Partap Singh handed Mumbai City FC a 5-3 win over FC Goa at Fatorda, with Noah Sadaoui, Brandon Fernandes and Brison Fernandes netting consolation strikes for the hosts.
The win also ensured the Islanders of them clinching the Hero ISL League Winners’ Shield, having taken an unassailable lead at the top of the standings after 18 matchweeks.
Earlier in the day, FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena made two changes to the playing XI that started against Odisha FC. Seriton Fernandes returned from an injury layoff to replace Aibanbha Dohling, while Alvaro Vazquez made way for Devendra Murgaokar.
Mumbai City kick-started the proceedings in the first half, but the Gaurs got the breakthrough in the 5th minute itself.
The Men in Orange capitalised on a free-kick awarded in their own third, as Anwar Ali played the ball long and into the path of Noah Sadaoui who collected it, ran past three defenders and placed his shot into the near corner of the net to give his team the lead.
It did not take long, though, for the Islanders to bring the scoresheet back to level terms. Greg Stewart’s direct attempt from a free-kick right outside Goa’s box in the 18th minute did the job for them. Jorge Pereyra Diaz then scored Mumbai’s second in the 40th minute, but the Gaurs replied within another two minutes through Brandon Fernandes’ strike.
It was Des Buckingham’s boys, however, who ended the first half with an upper hand, thanks to Stewart who found the back of the net once again through a direct free-kick, in the 44th minute.
Following the change of ends, FC Goa did well to raise their attacking intent and trouble the visitors’ defence on a number of occasions.
One such instance saw Iker Guarrotxena meeting a perfect cross by Brandon at the near post, but the Spaniard’s flick narrowly missed the target.
The Islanders got lucky in the 71st minute, when the referee adjudged a penalty for an apparent handball by a Goa player. Lallianzuala Chhangte promptly proceeded to shoot to the left, beating Dheeraj’s diving effort to double his team’s lead.
Six minutes later, Buckingham’s boys had another goal through Vikram Partap Singh, who nodded home from a headed pass by Mourtada Fall following a corner-kick.
In the 84th minute, FC Goa pulled one back. Alvaro Vazquez ran forward with the ball on the right side, before flicking it to Brison Fernandes who pulled the trigger from close range to score his team’s third of the night. It was, however, a bit too late for the Gaurs to complete a potential comeback, with the match ending 5-3 in the Islanders’ favour.
The defeat has resulted in Goa staying at fifth place, with 27 points from 18 matches. Up next for them is yet another assignment at home, against Chennaiyin FC on February 16.
FC Goa Media Release