Mumbai City FC, playing for the first time at Mumbai Football Arena, kept its fans happy with a hard-earned 1-0 win. Diego Forlan’s cool penalty conversion gave NorthEast United FC its first away loss of the season.
Forlan, Mumbai City's skipper and marquee player, evaded the defenders, created spaces for his mates and scored off a penalty.
The home team's constant pressing affected NorthEast's nerves a bit, but Reagen Singh overdid the aggression by kicking Pronay Halder’s legs in follow-through after a sweeping tackle. The latter fell forward, as if chopped down, resulting a penalty.
Subrata Paul, under the bar, facing Forlan, tried to irritate the Uruguayan with delaying tactics. After a warning, he got ready on the line and reacted well, diving to his left but the striker had his way, the ball brushing the glove enroute to the net.
The host, in blue shirts, defended well despite pressure from the visitor in white. NorthEast kept surging in the rival half, attacking from different angles, but goal-keeper Roberto Volpato was calm under the bar, keeping a clean sheet for the second tie in a row. Volpato responded cooly when Emiliano Alfaro whipped with his right leg and to a weak try from Katsumi Yusa.
NorthEast kept a close watch on Forlan, four defenders shadowing him often. The host's many attempts were thwarted in the first half. Emilio Alfaro, the lesser-known Uruguayan, picked out teammate Katsumi in the box with a precisely-timed pass. The latter trying to chip the ball over the custodian, sent it over the bar. Alfaro later created space on the right for a crack at target, but fired wide.
The home team fans kept a steady chant throughout, accompanied by drums.
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