Mumbai City beat Bagan 2-0, book AFC Champions League spot
IMAGE: A victory over ATK Mohun Bagan was all that Mumbai City FC needed to secure their first League Winners Shield and a place in the AFC Champions League. Photograph: ISL/Twitter
Mumbai City FC beat ATK Mohun Bagan 2-0 in the final league encounter of the Indian Super League, on Sunday, to book a place in the coveted AFC Champions League next season.
Sergio Lobera’s side comfortably won after first-half goals from Mourtada Fall (7th minute) and Bartholomew Ogbeche (39th).
Despite losing the top spot to Mumbai, ATK Mohun Bagan will still harbour hopes of salvaging their season with a second successive Hero ISL title.
Being the team with the most goals from set-pieces this season, Mumbai drew the first blood in a similar fashion, scoring with their first shot on target.
Ahmed Jahouh’s free-kick fell to an unmarked Fall, whose angular header gave Mumbai the lead.
The Mariners took control of the game soon after conceding but were forced to make a substitution in the 19th minute with Prabir Das replacing the injured Sandesh Jinghan.
Chances were far and few in between after the opening goal but it was from another set-piece that Mumbai doubled their advantage. Hernan Santana’s free-kick rattled the underside of the crossbar and Ogbeche pounced on the rebound, heading into an empty net.
Mumbai started the second-half bright, piling up pressure on the Bagan defence. The Mariners, on the other hand, hardly tested Mumbai keeper Amrinder Singh despite dominating possession after the break.
The crossbar proved unlucky for Bagan again, denying Prabir a goal around the hour mark. The substitute lined up a shot from a distance that beat Mumbai keeper Amrinder but the ball fizzled out after striking the frame.
Antonio Lopez Habas’ side went all out in the closing stages of the game, hoping to script a comeback but Mumbai’s backline stood firm, defending in numbers.
FC Goa hold Hyderabad FC to goalless draw, qualify for semis
IMAGE: FC Goa joined Mumbai City FC, ATK Mohun Bagan and NorthEast United FC in the semi-finals. Photograph: ISL/Twitter
FC Goa played out a goalless draw against Hyderabad FC to become the fourth and last team to qualify for the semi-finals of Indian Super League at the Fatorda Stadium, in Margao, on Sunday.
Hyderabad FC went into the match needing a win to make the semi-finals, but FC Goa ensured that they kept a clean sheet to earn a crucial point that cemented a top-four league stage finish for the Gaurs.
Both the teams failed to break the deadlock in the first half.
Ivan Gonzalez made a crucial interception in stoppage time to deny Hyderabad FC a goal and seal the fourth spot for the Gaurs.
Neither side managed to create anything of note in the first half as the defenders were on top and looked solid while dealing with any sort of danger that came their way. FC Goa enjoyed more possession, but Hyderabad FC were territorially superior.
Manuel Marquez’s men spent a lot of time in FC Goa’s half without getting in behind the Gaurs’ backline. They could have also capitalised from a few set-pieces, but FC Goa held firm and averted any danger that came into their box.
FC Goa came out for the second half looking more positive. Creating clear-cut chances though were still difficult to come by as both the sides struggled to produce their best in the opposition final-third.
Hyderabad FC upped the ante in search of a goal as the match entered its last 15 minutes of regulation time. They spent a lot of time camped near FC Goa’s box but the Gaurs managed to get bodies behind the ball and defend resolutely.
Hyderabad FC had a huge chance of taking the lead in the 85th minute when a Joao Victor ball into the box was just beyond the reach of Joel Chianese and substitute Liston Colaco, both of whom were desperately trying to get on the end of the cross.
FC Goa went up the other end and saw substitute Devendra Murgaokar charged with the ball from the left into the box and cut onto his right foot before failing to hit the target with his shot.
James Donachie then headed an FC Goa corner marginally above the crossbar in the last minute of regulation time.
Hyderabad FC also had a golden opportunity to win the match in injury time when Gaurs custodian Dheeraj Singh could only parry substitute Roland Alberg’s shot into a dangerous area in the six-yard box.
Colaco looked like he was about to put the rebound into an empty net, however, Ivan Gonzalez made a crucial interception to deny Hyderabad FC.
Adil Khan also had a nervy moment towards the end of the match as he almost headed the ball into his own net. However, Dheeraj rescued Adil by tipping the ball over the crossbar for corner as FC Goa held on for a draw.
Mumbai City face FC Goa; ATK Mohun Bagan take on NorthEast United in ISL semis
Mumbai City FC, ATK Mohun Bagan, NorthEast United FC and FC Goa have qualified for the play-off stages of the Indian Super League starting March 5. Mumbai City FC will play their two-legged semi-finals against fourth-placed FC Goa.
ATK Mohun Bagan, who finished second in the league stage, will lock horns with third-placed NorthEast United FC.
All play-off games will kick-off at 7:30 PM (IST) and will be broadcasted live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV.
Friday, Mar 5 – FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC. Fatorda
Saturday, Mar 6 – NorthEast United FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan. Bambolim
Monday, Mar 8 – Mumbai City FC vs FC Goa. Bambolim
Tuesday, Mar 9 – ATK Mohun Bagan vs NorthEast United FC Fatorda
Saturday, Mar 13 – Final Fatorda.
I-League: TRAU beat Sudeva Delhi 3-2
Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) edged past Sudeva Delhi FC 3-2 to seal their spot in the top-six of the Hero I-League in Kalyani.
Nandakumar Singh’s side came back twice from a goal down before finding the winner in the 82nd minute.
TRAU seemed to be the better attacking side, but it was Sudeva who took the shock lead in the 17th minute.
William Pauliankhum cut in from the right flank before sending a curling shot into the left bottom corner from just inside the area, shocking TRAU keeper Soram Poirei and his defence.
TRAU kept pushing, and they found their equaliser on the 36th minute when Bidyashagar Singh tapped in Joseph Olaleye’s cross from the right into an empty net.
Riding on the confidence from the goal, Bidyashagar took the matter into his own hands.
Sudeva took the lead for a second time on the 41st minute. TRAU failed to clear their lines as Abhishek Ambekar’s cross fetched a weak clearance from Dinesh Singh.
The ball fell perfectly in the path of Shubho Paul, the youngest player on the pitch, slotted it past Soram Poirei. Sudeva lead TRAU 2-1 at half time.
Sudeva had a golden chance to seal the game in the 50th minute, but William Pauliankhum hit his strike on the wrong side of the goal after Mahesh Singh’s darting run.
TRAU continued to attack and levelled the scores for the second time as Phalguni Singh headed Shahbaaz’s delightful cross past Sachin Jha in the Sudeva goal.
However, the Red Pythons kept pushing and Joseph Olaleye won them the match on the 82nd minute after Sachin Jha spilt Tursunov’s shot from close range.
Aizawl blank Chennai City
Aizawl FC picked up vital three points in the race to stay safe from relegation as Yan Law’s side defeated Chennai City FC 3-0 with goals from Lalmuanzova, Malsawmtluanga, and Lalremsanga after Chennai’s Vladimir Molerovic missed a penalty in the second half.
With both Mohammedan SC and TRAU winning earlier in the day, Aizawl FC were left reeling as their hunt for the top half of the table concluded.
With this win, Aizawl FC are tied on points (15) with RoundGlass Punjab FC.
However, the People’s club cannot make the cut for the top six because of a head-to-head scenario where they lost to RoundGlass Punjab FC 0-1 on the opening day of the Hero I-League season.
The teams that have qualified for the top half of the Hero I-League that will fight for the title are Churchill Brothers FC Goa, Real Kashmir FC, TRAU, Mohammedan SC, Gokulam Kerala FC and RoundGlass Punjab FC.
Meanwhile, with Indian Arrows and Sudeva Delhi FC having immunity, the teams that will fight to stay in the I-League next season, excluding those two are — Aizawl FC, Chennai City FC, and NEROCA.