Mumbai City FC defeated Jamshedpur FC by 4-2 in their latest Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 contest. The clash between the table-toppers saw a lot of action, six total goals and there was a lot to take away from it. These two teams played one of the best matches of the ongoing ISL season and have a promising season ahead of them.
The Islanders handed the Men of Steel their first defeat of the season and cemented their place on the top of the league standings for the moment. Des Buckingham showed his exceptional managerial skills and overcame the challenge posed by experienced tactician Owen Coyle. Both figures had different ideas for their teams and the game was full of tactical insights and in-game management of the highest level.
Here is a look at the tactical analysis of match number 23 between MCFC and JFC:
Des Buckingham fielded a reliable 4-2-3-1 setup. Raynier Fernandes replaced Vikram Singh in the starting lineup, the rest was the same team that started against Bengaluru FC in a 3-1 win.
The consistency in the lineup is a major factor in the team's success. A stable backline with the perfect balance of Lalengmawia "Apuia" and Ahmed Jahouh in midfield. The front four of Fernandes, Bipin Singh, Cassio Gabriel, and Igor Angulo have developed great chemistry and were lethal against JFC.
Owen Coyle shifted to a 4-4-1-1 formation with Ishan Pandita starting upfront as the target man. Supported by Greg Stewart in the supporting striker role with more freedom in movement.
Coyle wanted two foreign defenders in Peter Hartley and Eli Sabia to fend off the attacking prowess of MCFC. Komal Thatal and Jitendra Singh took their place on the wings while Alex Lima and Pronay Halder were tasked to control the midfield.
Analysis of the goals
The opening goal from Cassio Gabriel was possible due to the mistake by TP Rehenesh who could not judge the trajectory of the ball. Igor Angulo's presence made him lose focus but the Spaniard did not touch the ball and nor was he in an offside position.
The second goal on the stroke of 17 minutes also came on the back of an individual mistake. Sabia did not deal with a through ball, got wrestled off of it by Gabriel who put the goal on a platter for Bipin.
MCFC went into a three-goal lead thanks to individual brilliance by Angulo who finished with a neat strike with his left foot after receiving the ball inside the penalty area. Sabia was not close enough to the striker who easily found space. Thatal scored JFC's first by receiving the ball on the left flank, cutting inside to his right foot and curling the ball past Nawaz in the 48th minute.
Sabia then reduced the deficit to one by being in the right place at the right time. Pandita's shot struck the right post and the rebound was headed in by the centre-back. The last goal of the game came through Ygor Catatau who latched on to an aerial through ball and volleyed the ball past the goalkeeper from close range. Narendra Gahlot should have done better to clear the ball instead of letting it bounce in the penalty area.
Mumbai City FC's success is easily gauged by their stats from the first five matches of the season. The outfit has scored the most number of goals (16) and attempted second-most shots (64). Jamshedpur FC leads the rankings of most shots taken (67) and had several chances to add to their two goals.
MCFC also led JFC in key statistics from the match which paint a picture of their dominance. They had 55% of ball possession, completed 313 passes to JFC's 219 only. MCFC had eight shots on target to five from Owen Coyle's men, suggesting work needs to be done in the finishing department.
Performance of the head coach
Des Buckingham had a clear idea of how he wanted to play before the kickoff. His team pressed intensely without the ball and did not let Jamshedpur settle. This is a trend in MCFC's approach this year, a difference brought by their new boss. Buckingham also made impactful substitutions, justified by Catatau's third goal from the bench this season. A brilliant tactical masterclass from the young head coach.
Owen Coyle took a cautious approach by playing two foreign centre-backs, perhaps giving too much respect to the opposition. The Scotsman did not have an answer to the high-pressing from the reigning champions and gave them too much space in the transitions. The 55-year-old must play to his team's strengths and field both Nerijus Valskis and Stewart together.