A late Adam Le Fondre penalty gave Mumbai City FC a 1-0 victory over FC Goa, which had Redeem Tlang dismissed due to a mistimed tackle on Hernan Santana.
At the end of the day, Mumbai City, which was wasteful upfront, was handed a lifeline when Lenny Rodrigues handled the ball inside the penalty box.
After three halves of football without a shot on target, Mumbai City finally managed to test the opposition goalkeeper in the second half of their second match of the season and registered their first win in Goa on Wednesday.
Sergio Lobera’s team took on the manager’s former club FC Goa with the hopes of showcasing what they have learnt from the Spanish coach in the short pre-season sessions that they have had. Lobera’s teams require time to settle in and it was evident once again at the Fatorda Stadium.
The experienced Adam Le Fondre stepped up and converted from the spot to give Mumbai the three points. Former FCG coach Sergio Lobera, who is now in charge of MCFC, must be the most relieved man now.
FC Goa dominated the initial parts of the game as Mumbai City FC looked clueless. But the Redeem Tlang red card put the home side on the backfoot. However, Goa, despite being reduced to 10 men, created the better chances in the second-half and came close to scoring with captain Edu Bedia leading the charge.
In terms of lineups, there were talking points in both camps – Lobera’s experiment of fielding Adam Le Fondre on the right flank and Bartholomew Ogbeche through the centre hadn’t worked against NorthEast United so he dropped the former Kerala Blasters striker to the bench.
Lobera made three changes to the side that lost to NorthEast United. Bartholomew Ogbeche and Mohamad Rakip were dropped with Ahmed Jahouh suspended following his red card. Amey Ranawde, Cy Stephen Goddard and Mourtada Fall all came into the starting eleven.
FC Goa coach Juan Ferrando named an attacking team. Left-back Saviour Gama was back in the side after a suspension while Tlang and Alberto Noguera were selected ahead of Princeton Rebello and Jorge Ortiz. The Gaurs had the first chance in the eighth minute when Noguera found Igor Angulo with a low cross, but the latter’s poor first touch let him down.
Mumbai played with intent with Le Fondre constantly troubling Goa’s left flank. But they couldn’t convert their dominance into chances as they failed to record a single shot on goal in the first session. The Gaurs then suffered a huge blow in the 40th minute when Tlang was shown the red card for his two-footed tackle on Hernan Santana.
Surprisingly, it was Goa who started more aggressively in the second half. They nearly took the lead just after restart when Angulo sprinted in the box, only to see his shot narrowly miss the target.
At the other end, Goa keeper Mohammed Nawaz almost gifted Mumbai a goal. His last-ditch clearance brushed the onrushing Le Fondre, but the touch wasn’t enough to send the ball to the back of the net. With less than a quarter to go, Mandar Rao Dessai squandered a great chance. Le Fondre’s low shot was met by the left-back, but with just the keeper at his mercy, his touch proved too heavy, sending the ball over the post.
After constant knocking, Mumbai were finally awarded a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time after Lenny Rodrigues handled Bipin Singh’s header, and Le Fondre’s powerful drive gave Nawaz, who dived in the right direction, no chance.