In the Semi-final of the Indian Super League, Mohun Bagan were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by NorthEast United late on Saturday. Elsewhere, Mumbai City also held FC Goa in a 2-2 scoreline after a tense encounter early on Friday.
NorthEast United FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan // SEMI-FINAL- FIRST LEG
Idrissa Sylla’s late equaliser for NorthEast denied Mohun Bagan a much deserved victory in the second semi-final of the ISL 2020-21 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim. David Williams gave Mohun Bagan the lead early on after a beautiful nutmeg and goal in the 35th minute, assisted by Roy Krishna. However, NEUFC equalised in the 94th minute through Sylla, to make it a 1-1 scoreline.
NorthEast were without their injured talisman Deshorn Brown and made significant changes in formation to deal with his absence. Meantime, Habas deployed all his attacking options in their starting 11 with Manvir Singh, Williams, Roy Krishna and Marcelinho.
Both teams tried to open up the play in their opponent’s halves in the first quarter of the game with little success. Both defences held on as a unit despite failing to clear dangerous chances created at both ends. Roy Krishna and Manvir Singh both failed to convert their chances in front of goal as the game progressed. However, David Williams sent Mohun Bagan ahead after a delightful shot from outside the box in the 34th minute.
Roy Krishna got control of the ball on the right set it up for Williams, who created space for himself before slotting it home to make it 1-0. Soon after the goal, NEUFC started to press more, but they continued to fail in front of goal with Bagan given enough space to counterplay. NEUFC also had a great chance with Ashutosh Mehta in the dying minutes of the first half after his header from Gallego’s free-kick nearly made it 1-1 for the highlanders.
The second half started with Gallego posing threats to the Bagan defence, with the NEUFC players failing to read the ball properly. Habas struggled to keep the NEUFC attack at bay, as Bagan were forced more into a defensive shape during the second half. Both teams only managed 2 shots on target up to the 80th minute but NEUFC’s attack continued to create open plays through the middle. Gallego had a chance in the 90th minute which went begging as well. However, just as we thought the game was over, NEUFC managed to stun Bagan with an injury-time equaliser through Sylla in the 94th minute. Machado’s stunning ball into the box was poorly dealt by the Bagan defence, which left Sylla with the easiest of options to head it down and claim the easiest of equalisers.
FC Goa vs Mumbai City // SEMI-FINAL FIRST LEG
Mumbai City FC were held to a 2-2 draw by FC Goa in the first leg of the Indian Super League on Friday. The maiden semi-final leg of this season saw FC Goa failing to keep a stern grip on their lead, as they give away their advantage twice during the game. Interestingly, both the goals for Mumbai were scored by former FC Goa players Hugo Boumous and Mourtada Fall.
Goa broke the deadlock early on with Igor Angulo’s penalty giving them a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute. However, his goal was cancelled out by Boumous’ superb volley in the 38th minute. Goa followed this up by taking a lead through Saviour Gama in the 59th minute. 3 minutes later, Mourtada Fall netted a vital equaliser for Mumbai to make it 2-2.
FC Goa started the game with key players absent through suspension. Mumbai, on the other hand, came into the game as slight favourites. However, FC Goa were awarded a clear cut penalty early on in the 20th minute after Mandar Rao Dessai clipped Jorge Ortiz in the box. Igor Angulo who took the penalty sent Amrinder the wrong way to claim his 13th goal of the season.
Goa continued to dominate with dangerous run-ins from the wings that threatened the Mumbai defence. Mumbai also tried to break up play with quick counters through Bartholomew Ogbeche. However former Goa player Boumous equalised for Mumbai minutes later to make it 1-1. Ahmed Jahouh’s short free-kick was sent into the back of the net by the Frenchman.
Goa’s failure in dealing with set-pieces was once against exploited as they struggled to stop the progress of Boumus from the edge of the box. Goa were also denied a penalty minutes later in the 44th minute.
The second half kicked off with Goa, pressing to find another goal, but it was Mumbai who created the first breakthrough. Boumous cut-back play to an unmarked Ogbeche inside the box went begging as the Nigerian forward sent the ball flying over the crossbar. At the other end, Goa took the lead through Gama after a brilliant solo effort by the left-back made it 2-1 for FC Goa. Less than two minutes later, Goa yet again failed to deal with a low cross as Jahouh’s perfect delivery into the box was freely headed home by an unmarked Mourtada Fall to make it 2-2 for Mumbai.
Monday, 8th of March – Mumbai City FC vs FC Goa
Tuesday, 9th of March – ATK Mohun Bagan vs NorthEast United FC