Photo: ISL Media Twitter (https://twitter.com/IndSuperLeague/status/1333803083168575496/photo/1)
ISL 2020-21 Mumbai City FC vs SC East Bengal: Mumbai City cruise past SC East Bengal
Mumbai City FC registered a comprehensive 3-0 win over SC East Bengal on Tuesday night at the GMC Bambolim Athletic Stadium in Goa.
Mumbai's stalwart striker Adam le Fondre scored a brace while Hernan Santana also had one goal to his name on the night.
SC East Bengal received an early blow when skipper Daniel Fox had to be replaced as early as in the seventh minute of the match after he sustained an injury. A couple of minutes later, Mumbai City got their first chance of the game, when le Fondre received a ball from left and subsequently laid it for Hugo Boumous, who forced custodian Debjit Majumder into a save.
It was in the 15th minute of the match when the Red and Gold brigade got their first attempt at the goal when Jacques Maghoma took a shot from a distance but couldn't threaten the goal. Substitute Mohammed Rafique, who came in for Daniel Fox, forced Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh into a stunning save just a few minutes later when he took a shot from range.
The resulting corner though, did more harm than good for SC East Bengal, as Rowllin Borges made a defence splitting pass into the opposition half that found Boumous, who laid it for le Fondre, as the Englishman tapped it in to give the hosts the lead.
Buoyed up by the goal, the Islanders continued to press for the second one, but the scoreline remained unchanged at the break.
Just three minutes into the second half, however, Mumbai doubled their lead through le Fondre's goal from the spot, when Boumous was brought down into the box following a line-breaking pass from Ahmed Jahouh into the box for the French-Moroccan.
Just before the hour mark, Mumbai found the third of the night, when a well-worked set-piece by Jahouh found Boumous, who crossed the pall for Hernan Santana, whose first-time finish made it 3-0 for the hosts.
SC East Bengal tried to respond back with goals but dominating Mumbai made it difficult for the Kolkata Giants. The only chance for them came in the final minute before the full-time, when substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua attempted to shoot at the goal, only to be blocked by the defence, as their dry run in the league continues.
Mumbai City FC head coach Sergio Lobera was asked about Boumous' performance, to which he said,
“I don’t like to speak about individuals, the most important thing is to work as a team. When you work well as a team, it’s possible for individuals to shine. Obviously, Boumous is a very good player but I have a very good squad, and this is the most important thing for me."
" If you want to win a game, you need a very good first XI. But if you want to win the league, you need a very good squad and I have a very good squad. I am very happy to have very positive players in the playing XI and the bench. It is an amazing problem for a coach to have when it’s difficult to decide your first XI before every game,” he added.
Madar Rao Desai completed 100 appearances in ISL, the first ever to do so, and Lobera was happy to talk about him,
"It’s a big pleasure to work with players like Mandar, I am very happy for him. He deserves all the good things that happen and hopefully, we can work together for a long time. I want to congratulate him and expect him to continue working the same way,” the Spaniard said.
On Santana and Mourtada Fall's pairing, he said,
“Balance is important for us. We need to balance between attack and defence. With these players, we can build better and try to start playing from the back. But I am very happy with the result and the three points… we need to continue improving, and that’s my job, we need to continue improving."
SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler rued Daniel Fox's loss,
"When you lose your captain, who is one of your mainstay players, early in the game then that throws out everything that you have learned all week coming into the game,”
Fowler said at the post-match press conference.
The Liverpool legend further stressed on the need of cutting down individual errors on the field,
"The quality at times was okay, individual lapses at times cost us. We know as a team we have to do better in terms of concentration. We try and drill that into players all the time. Concentration level in football is huge and we need to learn that quicker,” Fowler said.