Mumbai City FC rode on Balwant Singh’s brace to grab three points from their Indian Super League match against NorthEast United FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Sarusajai, Guwahati on Wednesday.
Despite having some clear chances in the first half, the inability to find the finishing touch again proved crucial for the Highlanders. Although the visitors didn’t have much of the chances coming their way in the first half, Balwant ensured the perfect result for them in the 34th minute and sealed the deal in the 68th minute.
The win took Mumbai into the top four of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) table.
The first goal was a howler as NorthEast United’s goalkeeper, Ravi Kumar, ran out of his area to challenge Balwant, with the Indian simply having to arrange it past him into a gaping goal from outside the box. The Mumbai forward looked as surprised as did all the fans, but it was his precision that eventually counted.
Mumbai City put the result out of doubt with a second goal in the 68th minute. A lapse in concentration from Rowllin Borges allowed Emana into a dangerous area from where he squared the ball for Balwant. With an open goal awaiting him for the second time in the match, he made no mistake whatsoever.
“It’s a bad phase… It’s frustrating because we are creating chances, but we are unable to score. It’s not fair…but this is football. We should now have the strength to get over the phase,” said NeUFC coach João de Deus after the match.
The Highlanders piled on the pressure and sent fizzing crosses into the box at will, but a lack of cutting edge in front of goal meant those chances went begging.
It was the story of the match, so to speak: NorthEast’s failure in front of goal. They saw Marcinho smack the post with an attempt and Seiminlen Doungel miss from point-blank range before Mumbai’s goals. This profligacy in front of goal will certainly be a problem in their quest to qualify for the business end of the Hero ISL.
NorthEast now sit in lowly ninth position and have scored just two goals in six matches. NorthEast play promising football and Mumbai dish out a style that is result-oriented. In the end, it was the latter that mattered.