ISL: It's over for Mumbai

Updated: Feb 22, 2020, 07:49 IST | Ashwin Ferro | Mumbai

Chennai skipper Goian scores winner against MCFC to end playoff dreams.

Chennaiyin FC skipper Lucian Goian celebrates scoring against Mumbai City FC yesterday. Pics/ISL
Chennaiyin FC skipper Lucian Goian celebrates scoring against Mumbai City FC yesterday. Pics/ISL

On Thursday, Chennaiyin FC skipper Lucian Goian said that it would be strange to play against Mumbai City FC, a team he has excelled for in the last three ISL seasons.

On Friday, he was instrumental in 'booting' out his former club from the competition after his 83rd minute goal ensured Chennaiyin nudge Mumbai off the fourth playoff spot in what was the host side's last league match at the Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri.

Chennai had an edge
Mumbai City, who were on 26 points from 17 matches before Friday's clash, needed a win at all costs to confirm their playoff position while even a draw would suffice for Chennaiyin who have a game in hand.

With so much at stake, both teams began cautiously, leading to a goalless first half.

The referee gives a red card to Mumbai City FC's Sourav Das during the ISL tie against Chennaiyin FC at the Mumbai Football Arena, Andheri
The referee gives a red card to Mumbai City FC's Sourav Das during the ISL tie against Chennaiyin FC at the Mumbai Football Arena, Andheri

In the second session, Mumbai City showed some urgency but it was Chennaiyin who had the better chances. In fact, the visitors would have been 3-0 victors had it not been for a suicidal tackle by Mumbai's Sourav Das and a moment of brilliance by skipper and custodian Amrinder Singh.

In the 54th minute, Chennaiyin's Lallianzuala Chhangte had the ball all to himself off a counterattack and was sprinting solo towards the Mumbai goal, when a trailing Das stuck out his foot and caught his heel, bringing him down and breaking a fine goal-bound move. Das was sent off and Mumbai survived.

Then, in the 77th minute, Chennaiyin's Germanpreet Singh received a neat cut back at the edge of the Mumbai box and shot goalward but Amrinder's reflexes saw him amazingly stretch out his left leg to deny what would have been another certain goal.

Missed chance
Mumbai's best chance came in between these two survival moments. In the 67th minute, Mumbai striker Amine Chermiti received a beautiful aerial ball from Diego Carlos inside the Chennaiyin box and promptly stabbed the ball goalward, beating an outstretched Chennai custodian Vishal Kaith, only for the ball to trickle inches away from the far post.

Goian then scored the late match-winner off a corner—the floating ball was deflected away to the far post where he was positioned perfectly to slam home first-time, beating good friend Amrinder all ends up.

The mature central defender avoided an over-the-top celebration realising he had shattered the hearts and hopes of the Mumbai crowd.

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