Mumbai City FC recovered from a goal’s deficit to outgun a spirited Indian Navy side 4-1 in its opening match in Group B league of the Durand Cup, at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Thursday.
Indian Navy found the lead by surprising its heavyweight opponent when Adersh Mattummal struck the target with a nice long-ranger. The former ISL champion neutralized the lead soon after with a Vikram Pratap Singh goal to end the first half 1-1.
Mumbai City picked up three more in the second half as Greg Stuart converted a penalty and substitute Lallianzuala Chhangte struck two late goals to make the win look convincing in the end.
Playing its first match of the season, Mumbai City showed good organization and made repeated inroads in the opposition box. But the goal remained elusive as the Navy defence managed to keep the ball out of harm’s way.
MCFC turned things in its way in the 43rd minute off a nice counter-attack as Adersh punched a powerful drive from around 20 yards giving the Mumbai goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa no time to save.
Stung by the reverse, the Islanders regrouped quickly and saw Vikram bring up the equalizer off a fine solo effort just before the break.
Mumbai City struck a better rhythm after the interval and found the lead in the 65th minute when Scotsman Greg Stewart struck from the spot following a penalty awarded for a foul on his Spanish colleague Alberto Noguera.
Mumbai coach Des Buckingham introduced Chhangte in the 81st minute and the nippy winger showed his talent adding two quick goals towards the end of the action.
NEROCA FC wins Imphal derby
NEROCA FC earned the bragging rights in the Imphal derby as it comfortably downed its rival TRAU FC 3-1 in a Group C match at the Khuman Lampak Stadium on Thursday.
Tangva Ragui put NEROCA ahead early in the 16th minute but TRAU equalised quickly through Komron Tursunov.
Thomyo helped NEROCA regain the lead before John Chidi scored the third to secure the win.