Mumbai FC pulled off a well-needed 2-1 victory over Shillong Lajong in an I-League football game at the Cooperage ground here yesterday, to keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation.
Mumbai took the lead through Steven Dias (4st minute) which was neutralised by their North-Eastern rivals through Fabio Pena (56th) from a spot-kick before a late goal by Minchol Son, four minutes from time, secured full three points for the struggling home team.
The victory pushed Mumbai up the table to seventh from the bottom slot ahead of their final game against Pune's league debutants D S K Shivajians next Sunday here.
Lajong, on the other hand, have dropped down to the danger zone. Mumbai started on a determined note and created an opening in the third minute when Jayesh Rane's cross was wasted by Dias at the far post.
Four minutes later Mumbai's Japanese medio Taisuke Matsugae blasted the ball over the bar and immediately afterwards Eric Brown's shot hit the side netting.
Lajong soaked up the early pressure and slowly got into the game. In the 37th minute, Penn Orji right-footed the ball inches over the bar from the edge of the box.
But Mumbai were finally rewarded when Brown was fouled outside the box and Dias¿s scored with a shot into the top corner to give the home team a 1-0 lead at half-time.
Crossing over, Mumbai were twice denied by the woodwork. A foul on Rane saw Brown¿s free-kick strike the crossbar and rebound into play and then Rane¿s effort hit the
upright to save Lajong.
Lajong equalised through Fabio who scored from the penalty spot after Penn was brought down inside the box by a Mumbai FC defender.
Both sides wasted a few chances before Mumbai surged into the lead again through Minchol Son in the 86th minute through a goalkeeping error.
Dias's corner-kick was headed by Son and should have been blocked by Lajong 'keeper Vishal Kaith who, instead of collecting the ball with both hands, deflected it into his own goal.