North East United FC and Mumbai City FC played an exciting 3-3 draw in the ongoing Indian Super League 2021-22 season. The contest saw a brilliant game of football at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda, Goa between the reigning champions and last year's playoff finalists. Igor Angulo's brace and a strike from Bipin Singh were cancelled out by a sublime hattrick from Deshorn Brown.
The game was full of turning points, drama, mistakes and brilliant individual performances. While the draw was most likely a fair result, both teams would feel they had plenty of chances to win the match and secure three points. Having said that, there are many takeaways from the result for the fans and the neutrals alike. Here are the top five talking points from the entertaining encounter between Mumbai City FC and North East United FC:
Mumbai City FC must be wary of counter-attacks
Des Buckingham's team dominates possession with their brilliant football. Midfielders like Ahmed Jahouh and Apuia are great at moving the ball, passing it to their teammates. Additionally, the high press system does not let the opposition retain the ball for longer periods. Any team clashing against MCFC must be prepared to enjoy less of the ball and aim to hit them on the counter. Kerala Blasters FC was rampant on the counter and North East United also created many chances on the break. The goal scored by Deshorn Brown was a product of good counter-attacking football.
V.P. Suhair is the standout player
V.P. Suhair is one of the most impressive domestic players this season in terms of form. The forward has three goals and one assist already and was again a threat going forward for the Highlanders against the Islanders. To everyone's shock, Khalid Jamil subbed him at the halftime break against Mumbai City FC. It was unclear if it was a tactical change or if the player picked up an injury. As the situation around Suhair becomes clearer, it is imperative that Jamil utilises Suhair's talents, who could be the difference-maker for his team.
MCFC reliant on Mourtada Fall
Mumbai City FC took to the field without Mourtada Fall who was serving his suspension following a sending off against Kerala Blasters FC. Mehtab Singh paired up with Rahul Bheke and did not look comfortable in the position. The backline lacked communication and this was one of the reasons for conceding the first goal. The second goal was also the result of Mehtab's lack of confidence. Moreover, Fall is a major threat in set-piece situations and his absence was visible in MCFC's gameplay. The tactician will be aware of the team's over-reliance on the centre-back.
Mirshad Michu's howler was the turning point
Mirshad Michu was playing his third game for NEUFC this season and started the game on a positive note with a decent save from Ygor Catatau. However, the goalkeeper made a mistake for Bipin Singh's goal and let the ball escape his grip which handed the lead to the visitors. Getting beat at the near post in such a manner is an embarrassing situation for any goalkeeper. This moment of the match was crucial as it changed the complexion of the game in MCFC's favour.
Poor defending from both teams
The game's highlight was the atrocious defending from both teams. NEUFC defence was shocking in containing Igor Angulo who was left unmarked inside the box on two occasions which led to two goals. On the other hand, Des Buckingham's team delivered their worst defensive performance in the 2021-22 campaign. All three of Brown's goals were identical in the sense that the defenders did not stop the cross, failed to clear their lines and the goalkeeper's command of the box was absolutely lacklustre.