In a pulsating Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match on Saturday, title contenders Hyderabad FC beat holders Mumbai City 2-1, thanks to two two-half goals, at Margao in Goa. (More Football News)
The win defeat consigned Mumbai City to a fifth-place finish in the 11-team league with 31 points from 20 matches (nine wins, four draws and seven defeats).
Hyderabad, who have already booked their maiden knock-out spot, also helped Kerala Blasters finish fourth and qualify for the semi-finals. Kerala will play their final league match against FC Goa on Sunday.
In their 20 matches, Hyderabad FC have accumulated 38 points (11 wins, five draws) and are second. But three-time champions ATK Mohun Bagan can overtake them with a win against leaders Jamshedpur on Monday. Jamshedpur and ATK Mohun Bagan have 40 and 37 points respectively from 19 matches each.
Rohit Danu opened the scoring in the 14th minute, then Joel Chianese (41') doubled the lead before the break. Mumbai skipper Mourada Fall pulled one back in the 76th minute, but that's all the defending champions could do against a resolute Hyderabad.
What Happened In The Match
A positive start to the game by Hyderabad FC was rewarded by an early goal from Danu. The striker was fortunate to end up with the ball after multiple deflections but made no mistake in finishing on the far post inside the first 15-minutes.
Hyderabad's Sauvik Chakrabarti got a shot on target a few minutes before the half-hour mark, but it was straight at Phurba Lachenpa in goal.
The Islanders pushed forward looking for the equaliser and saw Amey Ranawade hit the side-netting. Then, Vikram Pratap Singh got a shot on target from the right flank but it was not enough to equalise.
However, Chianese scored against the run of play, after latching on to a brilliant aerial through ball from Yasir Mohammad. The Australian scored from the one-on-one situation to extend HFC’s lead to two and give MCFC a mountain to climb in the second half.
Mumbai City FC came out all guns blazing in the second half, knowing they had to win this match at all costs. But their attempts at goal were nullified by strong defending from a well-organised HFC team.
Hyderabad boss Manolo Marquez was forced into making a change after the hour mark following as Danu pulled his hamstring and got replaced by Akash Mishra.
Just when all hopes of a comeback seemed gone, Fall turned up with a headed goal with 15 minutes left in the match. But despite getting five minutes of added time for stoppages, MCFC could not find the goals to turn the game around.
They succumbed to a defeat that would also end their campaign.
Hyderabad FC will be next involved in the semi-finals that begin from 11 March onwards. As for Mumbai City FC, the season comes to an end.