7-0, 5-1, 4-2 and now 5-2. Clearly FC Goa love playing against Mumbai City FC. Arguably the most one-sided fixture in the Indian Super League (ISL) in recent times witnessed no anomalies on Wednesday when the Gaurs hosted the Islanders at the Fatorda Stadium.
However, contrary to what the scoreline suggests, Mumbai started the game on the front foot. They stepped out of their comfort zone and pressed the home side very well, making it difficult for them to play the ball out from the back.
Jorge Costa’s men were rewarded with the opener in the 18th minute, with Rowllin Borges netting it in from the centre of the box to make it 1-0. How Mumbai reacted to going a goal up was also unlike them.
Costa is known for his pragmatic approach and is probably the manager you would put your money on to protect a one-goal lead. Bengaluru FC manager Carles Cuadrat had earlier commented on how it’s difficult to stage a comeback against Mumbai.
“As I said before the game against Mumbai City, if you concede, it becomes very difficult because they are very good defensively and they try to go for the counter-attack,” he said after the Portuguese served his side with a 2-0 defeat at the Sree Kanteerava.
Mumbai are also known for stepping up in away fixtures, conceding just one defeat this season prior to the hammering against Goa. But none of this was on display after Borges’ goal.
The defence was leaky and all over the place. Jackichand Singh and Hugo Boumous were allowed to run riot. There was no one to monitor Ferran Corominas’ runs and he was allowed to slip into scoring areas quite comfortably.
The first two goals scored by Goa had certain common elements in them. In both cases, the scorer was unmarked and the Islanders were guilty of not being able to clear the ball. These rookie mistakes are unacceptable from any team, let alone from a side that is targetting a play-off spot.
Credit when due, Costa’s half-time team talk seemed to have had an impact on the players. The Islanders looked in good touch in the opening minutes of the second half and at 3-2, they were still very much in the game.
But the problem was that Mumbai could not make their spell of domination count though Mohammed Nawaz had to be at his best to keep out efforts from Diego Carlos, Modou Sougou and Borges. Goa survived that spell could have easily added a couple more.
Goa’s fifth is also a prime example of poor defending from the visitors. Corominas was allowed to stroll across the six-yard box with up to three defenders staring at his cleats. Mohammed Rafique then deflected Lenny Rodrigues' poor shot into his own net.
On the other hand, Boumous and Corominas continued to light up the stadium with their red hot form. The former assisted both of the latter’s goal and the understanding between the two players was almost telepathic.
Corominas’ first arrived from a Jackichand’s cross was nodded to him by Boumous for him to smash home first time. The second resulted from a brilliant exchange between the two and calm finish by the Spaniard.
Goa’s attack has been lethal this season, as evidenced by the 41 goals that they have scored while no other team has managed more than 30.