“Football can be very cruel at times” and that just sums up the Semi-final 1, Leg 2 of the ongoing season of the Hero ISL as Mumbai City FC book a place in the final for the very first time in their history after an intense penalty shootout at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim.
The Islanders started the match on the front foot and were eyeing an early lead but lacked the finishing touch on every occasion. The Gaurs came up with the biggest chance in the 27th minute when Alberto Noguera’s shot was parried away by Amrinder but it fell to Redeem who almost scored the opener but Amay came in with an all important block.
Jorge Ortiz brought Amrinder into action after the drinks break and the Islanders’ skipper did well to deny him an opening. Four minutes later, Mumbai won a free-kick of their own at the edge of the box and Ahmed Jahouh set up Hugo for a clear shot on goal but Boumous’s effort went well over the crossbar.
The away side started the second half on a bright note. But, Amrinder yet agains stood tall against Goa’s attacking prowess and denied Alexander Jesuraj & Savior Gama an opening by two brilliant saves.
Just after the hour mark, Adam le Fondre got on the end of a cross form the left flank and showed the ball a way towards the goal but Adil Khan came to rescue to deny the 34 years old. Goa created another opportunity when Jesuraj’s looping ball into the box found Ishan Pandita who’s perfectly timed header was ruled out as Amrinder pulled off yet another brillant save.
FC Goa kept on trying to get the winner and came ever so close late in injury time when Edu Bedia’s delivery into the box needed a touch from James Donachie to head it home but the Aussie centre-back took his eyes off the ball and that was the last piece of action from the first 90 minutes.
The Extra time was a cagey affair as neither sides managed to create many clear cut chances. Edu Bedia’s free-kick tested Amrinder in the first half of extra time. The end of 120 minutes without a goal meant, penalties would decided the faith of either of the two teams.
Big Man Bart and Raynier Fernandes found the back of the net from the spot for Mumbai and for Goa, Igor Angulo and Ivan Gonzalez did the needful. Mourtada Fall, Amay Ranawade and Mandar scored for Mumbai in the second set and Pandita, Ortiz and Adil scored from the spot for the Gaurs. But, Glan Martins missed an all important penalty which handed Rowlinn Borges a chance to book Mumbai’s place in the finals and the former Northeast United midfielder made no mistake and slotted it home.
Hero of the Match – Ivan Gonzalez
The Spaniard produced an all round performance but unfortunately ended up being on the losing end. He made sure Seriton’s absense in not felt and kept the attackers in check at the right back position.