Mumbai: Outplayed for the major part of the opening half in which they conceded a goal, hosts Mumbai FC pulled up the socks and rallied to down table toppers Royal Wahingdoh 2-1 in the I-League football match here today.
The home team, down 0-1 following a superb 14th minute strike by the Shillong team's forward Bekay Bawar, but hit back strongly in the second half to score the equaliser through defender Justin Stephen in the 51st minute following a goalmouth melee at the Cooperage ground.
Mohammed Rafi provided the finishing touches to another goalmouth scramble in the 73rd minute to provide Mumbai FC with their second successive win of the season that took their points tally to 7 from 6 games.
The Meghalaya outfit, which continues to lead the table with 13 points after suffering their second defeat in seven games, dominated the opening half but Mumbai turned the tables with some attacking play in the second half.
In the opening half Naoba Singh combined beautifully with Seityasen Singh and Trinidadian Densil Theobald but he picked up an injury late in the half following another foray and had to be replaced. It was the turning point in the game as the visiting team's attack did not carry the same threat thereafter.
In fact, it was Naoba, who fed Seityasen with an inch-perfect pass that the latter swung back in the path of Bawar whose long-range shot deflected into the Mumbai FC goal off the body of a defender, beating home team goalkeeper Nidhin Lal on his right.
Stung to the quick the Mumbai team regrouped but could not find the mark as Rafi's angular shot from the right went wide of the far post. Then came the injury to Naoba after yet another dangerous foray on the right flank to upset the Shillong team's rhythm as he had to be substituted by Lalmangaihsanga.
Crossing over with a 0-1 deficit, Mumbai FC's absent midfield started to assert itself and their attacks started to have more sting than in the first half.
But it was thanks to two throw-ins from the left flank that both the Mumbai goals came. Off the first the ball came back to Stephen inside a crowded box and he scored from close range to restore parity.
The game then descended into some rough play and two players each from both the teams were booked by referee O P Thakur.
The match-winner also resulted off a move from the left.
The throw-in by Allan Dias saw another goalmouth scrimmage and Rafi took advantage of this to slot the ball in from close.
The Mumbai defence held fort from then on to ensure victory.
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