Mumbai City overcome Jamshedpur challenge, books successive AFC Champions League berth


Mumbai City FC will get another shot in Asia’s premier club competition, the AFC Champions League, as they defeated Jamshedpur FC 3-1 in the qualifier at the Malappuram District Sports Complex Stadium, Manjeri on Tuesday.

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Mumbai City players celebrating their goal

Ahmed Jahou, Alberto Noguera and substitute Vikram Partap Singh scored Mumbai’s goals while Jamshedpur’s only goal of the game was netted by Eli Sabia.

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Jorge Pereyra Diaz on the ball

Mumbai City represented India in the Champions League last year as well, making history as they became the first Indian club to win a game in the AFC Champions League. They finished second in Group B with 7 points, which includes two wins and a draw.

The Islanders now have another record to their name as they will become the first Indian club to appear in the AFC Champions League group stages on more than one occasion.

After having a terrible ISL season finishing 10th in the league table, Jamshedpur FC came into the game as the underdogs and started on a defensive note. On the other side, Des Buckingham fielded a 3 forward formation and his intentions were clear.

As predicted, Mumbai City dominated possession for the first 40 minutes, but couldn’t create anything dangerous, with most of their efforts getting blocked by a diligent Pronay Halder. In fact, it was Jamshedpur who came close to scoring in the 12th minute, when Chukwu’s free-kick effort went on-target, but Mumbai custodian Phurba Lachenpa palmed the ball away.

Mumbai City had their first real chance in the 42nd minute. Chhangte’s strike from the edge of the box to the bottom- right corner was denied by Jamshedpur keeper TP Rehenesh, who pulled off an electrifying save.

The Islanders started the second-half in attacking mode and almost scored the opener within seconds after the restart, when Diaz received the ball from Bipin Singh and took a touch before shooting on the turn. However, Rehenesh once again made the save from close range.

Mumbai were awarded a penalty in the 51st minute, when Chhangte was fouled by Ricky inside the box. Jahouh, who took the kick, sent the keeper the wrong way and fired his side into the much important lead.Mumbai City head coach Des Buckingham then subbed in Greg Stewart as he went for the kill.

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Ahmed Jahouh after he scored from the spot

The Islanders then doubled their advantage in the 70th minute through Noguera, when he capitalised on an error from the Jamshedpur defence and fired a volley past Rehenesh.It seemed like the game was over, but Eli Sabia headed the ball home in the 80th minute from a corner to get the Men of Steel back into the game.

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Alberto Noguera in action

However, as they pushed for an equaliser, it allowed Mumbai City to kill the game on the counter-attack and Stewart set-up a ball for Vikram, who smashed in the third goal for the Islanders.

“Extremely proud to represent not just our club but Indian football at the highest level of club football.

The full cycle of the last 12 months where we finished second in the group stage of the last Champions League, made the Durand Cup final, won the ISL Shield and to have won this game is a good journey,” said Mumbai City coach Des Buckingham in the post match press conference.

Mumbai City and Jamshedpur FC will return to action in the Super Cup, which commences on the 8th of April.Mumbai City will play their games at the Malappuram District Sports Complex Stadium in Manjeri, Kerala, while Jamshedpur FC’s games are scheduled to be played at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala

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Ayan Abdulla
Ayan Abdulla
An ardent Kerala Blasters supporter and an Indian Football enthusiast!💛💙

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