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ISL: Mumbai City FC inch closer to league crown with a decisive 2-1 win against Odisha FC
Photo courtesy: X/@IndSuperLeague

ISL: Mumbai City FC inch closer to league crown with a decisive 2-1 win against Odisha FC

| @indiablooms | 09 Apr 2024, 11:03 am

Mumbai/UNI: Mumbai City FC sent Odisha FC and FC Goa out of the race of becoming the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 League Winners by defeating the Juggernauts by 2-1 at the Mumbai Football Arena (MFA) tonight.

With 47 points in 21 games, the Islanders are a step closer to defending their title this season, and can only be beaten to that by the second-placed Mohun Bagan Super Giant (MBSG), who have accumulated 42 points from 20 matches so far.

Meanwhile, Odisha FC are stuck at 39 points from 21 encounters, and will be aiming for a top-two finish that can guarantee them a semi-final place when they take on NorthEast United FC on April 13 for their final league game of the campaign.

For the Islanders, the entire equation boils down to their last league match, which is incidentally against the Mariners on April 15. Additionally, FC Goa (39 points) too have bowed out of the competition to finish at the top of the standings as a consequence of this win by the Islanders.

Mumbai City FC could become the ISL League Winners even before the aforementioned game provided that the Mohun Bagan Super Giant drop points in their coming clash against Bengaluru FC on April 11, which will make the Islanders’ current tally of 47 unreachable for the Antonio Lopez Habas-coached side.

The incumbent ISL Golden Ball winner Lallianzuala Chhangte stamped his class on this game with a dazzling performance that caught the Juggernauts aback in this clash.

The game hung fairly in balance in the initial 20-odd minutes of the game, but it was Chhangte who produced an absolute moment of magic to open the account for his side and also that of his Argentine counterpart Jorge Pereyra Diaz.

Having received the ball near the touchline on the right flank, Chhangte burst into the box, taking on Spanish defender Carlos Delgado, tricking him to the right, before dropping his shoulder and cutting the ball on the left side to square up a pass for Diaz at the centre of the goal.

The strike tapped the ball inside the net in the 22nd minute, but the entire team acknowledged that the goal was wholly the making of Chhangte.

Unfortunately for Mumbai City FC, they couldn’t relish that glory for far too long, as an error by goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa equalised the scores merely three minutes later. Odisha FC seemed keen to push back and adopted a high pressing routine straightaway after Diaz’s strike.

That built pressure on Lachenpa, as the custodian went array with his distribution and ended up playing the ball straight to the feet of Brazilian striker Diego Mauricio. The seasoned forward wasn’t going to let go of this chance, as he hammered the ball home to restore parity.

Chhangte continued to be a menace for the Odisha FC backline as the first half drew to an end. He joined hands with Lalengmawia Ralte to test the Juggernauts’ goal and was a threat from set-pieces too.

But, his moment of reckoning came in the 61st minute, as the Islanders crowded the Odisha FC box with several attackers and yielded positive results of the same.

Akash Mishra sent in a cracking delivery for Diaz inside the box, which the Argentine chipped in for Chhangte who was placed beside him near the goal. Chhangte deposited the ball in the top right corner, bringing home this crucial win for Mumbai City FC.

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