Mumbai FC was done-in by Mohun Bagan a solitary first half goal in their opening Group-C encounter in the 35th Federation Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, on Wednesday.
The all-important Bagan goal was scored by Christopher Chizoba (27th minute) which they held on and dashed Mumbai FC’s hopes to begin on a positive note.
Mumbai FC after kick off were first to make an impact. In the 5th minute, Yusif Yakubu, put NP Pradeep in the clear on the right. Running deep, Pradeep did well to cut-backa pass from the touchline and find an unmarked Ahmad Hatifi on the top of the box who stretched the Bagan ‘keeper Shilton Paul to keep out the attempt.
Back-to back corner-kicks for Mumbai FC pushed Bagan on the defensive.
Having dominated proceedings through Yakubu, Bagan almost dented the Mumbai FC citadel. The rival’s medio Yusa Katsumi moving quickly down the left took a shy only to have custodian Nidhin Lal deflect the ball onto the post.
Thereafter, Nidhin was kept busy with Katsumi and Chizoba’s try going straight into the keepers’ hands.
Chizoba, then, tested Nidhin again, only to have Nidhin block.
Having sustained a spate of attacks, Mumbai FC fell in arrears after Chizoba made no mistake on his third attempt. Beating the off-side trap the Nigerian latched on to a cross from Katsumi, before following up the space ahead with a volley to beat the Mumbai FC custodian.
The goal pushed Mumbai FC back and what unfolded was a mid-field battle for posession with no out-and-out chances created by either side.
At half time, Mumbai FC trailed 0-1.
Changing ends, Mumbai FC brought on Henry Ezeh (for Rahul Bheke) who began his role with a early try, but wide. On the hour, Henry was once again creating problems for Bagan sending ion a good cross for Yakubu but the striker was flagged off-side.
Four minutes later, Yakubu’s timed run to an Anwar Ali long free-kick saw the Ghanian win the aerial ball ahead of Shilton but the move rolled over the goalline just when the striker could direct it goalward.
Yakubu once again gained centre-stage when he chested down and blasted over from inside the box after Henry’s crossed from the left following a defenders’ clearance off a Nicolas Rodrigues corner-kick came loose.
Mumbai, then, went through a phase of attacks with Nidhin Lal keeping his calm when Chizoba faced him in a one on one situation.
Three minutes from the end, Hatifie had a close try from inside the box go over. He then set up Henry, with a gentle tap, to enable the striker push past his man-marker before stretching and scream his effort wide of the far post.