Mumbai FC extended their unbeaten run to four games with a 1-0 win over ONGC FC in an I-League Round VIII encounter at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune on Wednesday.
Midfielder Evans Quao scored the only goal of the match in the 73rd minute to give the hosts the much deserved victory. The home side moved upto 8thplace in the table with 10 points while ONGC stay 13th with 5 points.
The away side were reduced to 10-men after Katsumi Yusa was sent off in first half injury time after head-butting Mumbai FC’s Ashutosh Mehta.
Coach Khalid Jamil showed confidence in the same side that drew 1-1 with Mohun Bagan on Sunday with goalscorer Abhishek Yadav, once again, starting from the bench.
Mumbai FC began the game with confidence, but were unable to push forward after initial exchanges. The visitors however dominated possession in the first ten minutes gaining multiple corners.
Thereafter the home side came more into the game and began penetrating ONGC’s defense. Medio Ashutosh was booked for a challenge during this course.
Midway through the first half, playmaker Evans Quao came close to open scoring on two attempts. First he controlled a long ball with his chest before unleashing a half-volley going wide; and later his overhead volley on the left after connecting a James Singh cross too went wide at the far post.
Evans once gain went close five minutes from the half-time whistle. This time his header from Gabriel Fernandes’s cross from the right went just over the horizontal.
Into added time, Nicholas Rodrigues’ effort from long range was parried away to safety by the ONGC custodian. Moments after this effort a scuffle broke between the two teams after Katsumi Yusa head-butted Ashutosh. The Japanese was sent off and his teammate Hassan Adeola was booked for his part in the offense.
The teams went into the break goalless with Abhishek Yadav coming on for the injured Ashutosh.
Mumbai FC resumed play looking to make their one-man advantage over the opponents count. Ten minutes into the half, striker Yusif Yakubu got clear of his marker to take a crack from inside the box which was way off target.
The away side, playing with a man down, preferred to stay in their half just blocking and clearing all balls. Twenty minutes into the half, Nicholas sent in a low cross from the left. Substitute Abhishek, who was charging, failed to make a good contact.
Five minutes later, Gabriel’s attempt from inside the box was saved by the keeper. This save was followed by another save from Justin Stephen’s deft attempt.
Minutes later, Evans finally opened the day’s scoring as he out-jumped everyone to head in Gabriel’s cross in from the right to give Mumbai FC the lead. The hosts were spurred with this goal and started pressing their opponents.
Mumbai FC thereafter created many chances but couldn’t apply the finishing touch to it. Into the final moments of the game, Abhishek’s header from inside the box went just over.
The game ended 1-0 in favour of the hosts who extended their unbeaten run to four games.
The Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex has proved lucky for Mumbai FC as the team has scored three wins and a draw after losing their first game against Salgaocar FC.