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ISL 2020-21: NorthEast United shock Sergio Lobera's Mumbai City FC

ISL 2020-21: NorthEast United shock Sergio Loberas Mumbai City FC

The Bridge Desk

Published: 21 Nov 2020 4:02 PM GMT

Indian Super League (ISL) title contenders Mumbai City FC suffered a narrow 0-1 loss to NorthEast United FC in the second match of the 2020-21 season at Tilak Maidan in Goa.

In football, individual moments often decide the larger story that plays out over 90 minutes. On Saturday, Mumbai City learnt this the hard way. A red card and a penalty turned a game, that they were otherwise dominating, on its head

Mumbai's key player Ahmed Jahouh was shown a straight red card in the closing stages of the first half after a lunging tackle on Khassa Camara, in what was the game-changing moment of the match.

In the early stages, it looked like NorthEast were aiming for nothing more than a goalless draw, extreme caution visible in their game plan.

The Islanders were neat and proactive for long spells, though they were unable to find a cutting edge. Despite having players like Jahouh, Hugo Boumous, and Rowllin Borges, all capable of creating magic on their day, Sergio Lobera's side failed to get a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes.

They did hold the lion's share of the possession that occasionally resulted in hopeful efforts. In the 12th minute, Adam le Fondre's cross from the right wing found striker Bartholomew Ogbeche. The resulting effort though was intercepted by NorthEast defender Ashutosh Mehta. In the next few minutes, an Ogbeche header went over the bar while Jahouh took two attempts from distance. A clear-cut chance though was still eluding Lobera's men.

Then, the match took an unexpected turn as Jahouh, who was dictating things from midfield, was sent off with a straight red, a couple of minutes before halftime. His offence was a studs-up challenge on NorthEast's Khassa Camara.

Sergio Lobera's side controlled the first half but after being reduced to 10 men, they could not play with the same flair. NorthEast dominated proceedings in the second half as Gerard Nus' men capitalised on their numerical advantage soon after the restart and got the reward early on when Rowllin handled the ball inside the penalty area. Kwesi Appiah made no mistake as he slotted home past Amrinder Singh from the spot.

With Mumbai now under pressure, NorthEast took control over the game with Khumanthem Meetei and Appiah making regular inroads. Lobera made a tactical change replacing Ogbeche with Stephen Goddard, giving Le Fondre a central role up front. Mumbai had a rare opportunity in the 65th minute when Sarthak got his head to a cross, but his effort sailed inches over the bar. Lobera's team kept knocking on the door in the final quarter, but an equaliser eluded them.

Through the 90 minutes, despite their star studded attack, Mumbai failed to get a single shot on target and test Subhasish Roy Chowdhury.

Mumbai play their next match against FC Goa on Wednesday while NorthEast take on Kerala Blasters on Thursday.

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