Luck favoured a rusty Mumbai City FC side on Monday as it beat FC Goa 6-5 on penalties (2-2 aggregate score) after a goalless draw at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim to storm into the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) final.
The triumph took MCFC to the summit clash for the first time in the ISL's short history. Mumbai City's opponents in the final will be decided on Tuesday when ATK Mohun Bagan takes on NorthEast United FC in the second leg of their semifinal.
Captain Amrinder Singh was the hero for the Islanders as he produced six crucial saves before being substituted for Phurba Lachenpa after extra-time. In the shootout, FC Goa players missed four spot-kicks, three of which failed to find the target. FC Goa goalkeeper Naveen Kumar, who also came on a substitute, made three penalty saves that went in vain as the better club lost on the night.
Earlier, FC Goa manager Juan Ferrando brought back the the Spanish duo of Alberto Noguera and Ivan Gonzalez to his line-up while dropping Igor Angulo. Meanwhile, Amey Ranawade replaced Mandar Rao Dessai as one of the three changes in Sergio Lobera's XI.
Mumbai initially dominated possession in the first half. However, the Gaurs shifted gears and came close to scoring in the 27th minute. Noguera got the ball from Saviour Gama, dribbled past an opposition player and took a shot. Amrinder produced a decent save but only as far as Redeem Tlang, who fired a shot off the rebound. Ranawade threw his body on the line to avert the danger.
The 62nd minute of the match saw drama at both ends. MCFC had a penalty claim denied when Adil Khan looked to have handled the ball when trying to deal with an Adam Le Fondre move forward. But replays clearly showed that Adil's tackle was a fair one.
A few seconds later, Ishan Pandita's diving header, off a Alexander Jesuraj cross, was parried away by Amrinder. Both teams had half chances later in the encounter, but 120 minutes weren't enough as penalties were needed to get a result. Mumbai didn't attempt a single shot on target all game.
Despite overseas recruits Hernan Santana, Hugo Boumous and Ahmed Jahouh missing from the spot, the Islanders rode on Rowllin Borges' strike to cruise into the final, days after they won the ISL League Winners Shield .
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