FC Goa kept their second clean sheet in a row to help themselves to all three points against Mumbai City FC, here at the Mumbai Football Arena. The win also brought an end to Mumbai’s nine-game unbeaten streak in the ISL this season, the longest in club’s history.
Edu Bedia gave the Gaurs the lead in the 28th minute of the game before Coro slotted home from the penalty spot in the 79th minute to seal the deal. The goal from Coro was also his 29th in the ISL, thus overtaking Iain Hume’s record.
The Gaurs were on the front foot from the very beginning and the away side came close to scoring as early as the second minute when Mandar Rao Dessai found space at the edge of the penalty box. His rasping effort, though, was tipped over by Amrinder Singh in the Mumbai goal.
Coro tested the keeper in the 10th minute again. His shot swerved but Amrinder was able to gather on his second attempt.
Things started to heat up a bit in the next few minutes as Seriton Fernandes and Milan Singh were shown yellows. The Mumbai midfielder could indeed count himself lucky as the referee deemed his high boot deserving of only a yellow despite vehement protests from the travelling supporters and the Goa bench.
That was soon followed by another yellow in the 24th. This time it was Mumbai’s Lucian Goian who was held culpable for a tackle on Coro. That gave FC Goa a good opportunity to test Amrinder again, but that was not to be as Edu’s attempt from the set piece went well over the crossbar.
Goa had another opportunity from a free kick a couple of minutes later as Edu saw himself get fouled by Milan Singh again. This time it was Brandon Fernandes who walked up to have a crack from the set piece, but the result was not much different as his shot on goal was high and left much to be desired.
Goa draw first blood
The incessant pressure was finally rewarded in the 28th minute. A brilliant cross-field ball from Ahmed Jahouh found Mandar on the run. The left back played in Brandon running on the inside and the winger in turn found Coro with a slide pass. The Spaniard’s chip attempt was thwarted by Amrinder but the ball fell kindly to Edu, who maintained his composure to slot it into the goal despite Subhasish Bose’s best attempt at a goal line clearance.
There was no letting up from the visitors on this night as three minutes later Brandon looked to find the top corner with a curler after having cut inside from the left. His shot again was off target. Mumbai’s first attempt on goal came in the 36th minute when Rafael Bastos found room on the right hand side of the box. His shot, though, was not one to test Mohammad Nawaz.
The last piece of action in the half again saw a player get booked as Paulo Machado saw himself get into the referee’s book for a nasty challenge on Jahouh.
Goa kept the pedal to the metal to start off the second half and that nearly bore fruit 4 minutes into the restart. Mandar on the left again found space and this time tried to bend one off of his right foot but saw his effort sail inches over the top corner.
Mumbai fight back
Mumbai had their first dominant spell in the minutes to come. The 61st minute saw the Islanders mount a serious attack on the Goa goal when Arnold Issoko led the counter on the left. The Congolese was able to turn his defender before finding the onrushing Paulo Machado.
Machado’s first time shot, however, lacked direction and was straight at Nawaz who did his part in turning the ball away.
A couple of minutes later, Mumbai nearly got the equaliser when Lucian Goian was able to flick a free kick that left Nawaz rooted to his spot. The Romanian nonetheless had to settle for more agony as his effort crashed off the crossbar before being cleared to safety.
Goa held on sternly to the lead before finishing the game off with a flurry.
Coro with the dagger to Mumbai’s heart
Two minutes after Coro had seen a shot saved from an acute angle by Amrinder, the Spaniard was able to win a penalty that would ultimately secure all three points.
Brandon’s precise ball over the top in the 77th minute saw Hugo Boumous get to the end of it before the Frenchman flicked towards Coro. The ISL top-scorer was able to get to the ball first before being hacked down in the box by Subhasish Bose.
Coro got back up to take the resulting penalty, which he slotted coolly past Amrinder after sending the keeper diving the wrong way.
Boumous nearly made it three with what turned out to be the last kick of the match as the midfielder’s mazy run saw him side through the heart of the Mumbai defence before unleashing a shot on goal. He will still have to wait for his third goal though as Amrinder again came up big.
The timely win sees FC Goa move up to third on the table with 24 points from 13 games – a point ahead of NorthEast United in fourth with a game in hand. The Gaurs next travel to Delhi where they play the Dynamos on 4th February.