Chennai, Nov 4:
Mumbai City FC rode on Modou Sougou’s 20th minute strike to register a shock 1-0 win over defending champions Chennaiyin FC in an Indian Super League match here Saturday.
While it was Mumbai’s third win in the last four games, Chennaiyin slumped to a fifth defeat in six games this season to continue a surprisingly barren run. John Gregory’s men languish at the bottom of the table with a solitary point from a drawn game against Delhi Dynamos.
The all-important goal came against the run of play when Rafael Bastos sent a through ball to Modou Sougou. The Senegalese player got inside the box and shot with his left foot but Chennaiyin goalie Karanjit Singh made a good stop but he got a second chance and didn’t miss this time. He slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to the far corner to make sure that Mumbai’s first shot was on target.
Chennaiyin had made a good start to the game and they were spurred into action by the Sougou strike but their attempts to level the score didn’t materialise. They kept attacking and putting in the crosses but a goal continued to elude them. The Mumbai defence held firm under sustained pressure as Andrea Orlandi was in the thick of things.
Mumbai City goalkeeper Amrinder Singh kept the CFC strikers at bay with some crucial saves including one when Isaac Vanmalsawma took a corner with Orlandi waiting to pounce on the ball.
In the 41st minute, Orlandi had a chance as he got past a few defenders and headed inside the box and attempted to get past Subhasish Bose. Orlandi was down and appealed for a penalty, which was turned down by the referee.
In the second half, the home side played with great resolve but the Mumbai City FC defence held firm under pressure to secure three important points.
As Chennaiyin pressed for the equaliser, Nelson was in the thick of action, pushing forward in the 70th minute but Anirudh Thapa shot wide. A minute later, he put Germanpreet Singh through but the shot was blocked by the Mumbai custodian.
In the 57th minute, Mumbai had an opportunity to double the lead. Arnold Issoko sent a lovely ball through to Sougou but his attempt was foiled by Eli Sabia.
Gregory brought on Jeje Lalpheklua late in the second half in the hope of bringing some pep into the attack but the Mumbai defenders were steadfast in their job of holding off any rival attacks.
The Mumbai team has moved up to fifth spot with this win, which should make the coach Jorge Costa happy.