Pune: Mumbai FC rode on to Josimar’s first half penalty and Samapath Kuttymani ‘s 71st minute blinder to beat host Bharat FC 2-0 in the Round 8 match of the Hero I-League at the Balewadi Sports Complex Stadium here on Friday.
Khalid Jamil, who returned a bruised man after Maha Derby against Pune FC on February 1, will be pleased after his team played a dominant match not to allow any leeway to Bharat FC.
The win gave Mumbai FC three points that will raise them to No 4 position on the I-League table with 10 points from seven matches. Bengaluru FC too has 10 points from 7 matches, but have goal difference of 1. Following Friday’s win Mumbai bettered their goal difference to 2.
Bharat FC on the other hand will stay on in the No 10 position with 5 points from six games.
Bharat FC began tentatively while Mumbai played upfront letting know their intentions from the start of the match.
After half an hour of testing each other the home side earned a penalty corner off a Kris Bright cross. Mumbai FC saved the day after a dangerous ball by Bharat FC was nullified.
Steven Dias then moved with a good ball into the box, but Taisuke Matsugae cleared it only to see the ball back to Dias. But his cross second time around was way off the mark.
On the counter attack Mumbai raced into Bharat FC scoring area where Mehrajuddin Wadoo committed a foul when he brought down Josimar in the box that invited the referee to point to the spot and pull out a yellow card.
Josimar’s first try was netted but there was an infringement, and on second try too the Brazilian left no chance for Arindam Bhattacharya and shot a ground into the left net.
Down 0-1, Bharat FC showed some urgency as Prasad Jayshelan moved from the centre to fire a brilliant curling shot, which flew over the Mumbai goal in the 38th minute.
Bharat FC had yet another chance a minute later when Wadoo sent a long ball for Bright, who flicked it for Subash Singh. As the striker was heavily marked, he tried to set up Lester Fernandes instead, but he was tackled badly, but the referee found no offence.
On changing the ends, the story was no different. Mumbai dictated the terms while Lions were left to lick their wounds.
Mohammed Rafi played the role of playmaker to the hilt. He sneaked into Bharat FC area several times with threatening speed in the 68th minute. After a throw in, it was a big blow for Bharat FC when Kuttymani hammered in the second goal.
The ball had come for Josimar, who tried to weigh up his chances from the right of the goalkeeper. Bharat FC goalkeeper Arindam saved the blinder of a shot, but the ball rebounded towards Kuttymani, who shot it on the first attempt past the stunned Arindam.
Hero of the Match – Taisuke Matsugae (MUM).