A roaring Mumbai Football Arena was abuzz on Sunday night when Mumbai City FC played host to Hyderabad FC. Given the visitor’s poor track record away from home this season, it was anyway supposed to be a rather easy route for the home side, who now sit fourth in the Indian Super League tally.
Jorge Costa, who won his first home game of the season on Sunday, made a whopping four changes to the team which faced Jamshedpur FC on Thursday. With their midfield general Paulo Machado out injured, Sourav Das made it to the starting XI while Amine Chermiti – Mumbai’s top scorer this season – was replaced by Serge Kevyn upfront.
But despite missing all the big names on the night, Mumbai made a promising start to the game with Modou Sougou breaking the deadlock in as early as the sixth minute. A setback, however, was on card when Sarthak Golui was shown his second yellow after the hour’s mark, but that didn’t faze the home side a bit, as they went on to score their second some 10-odd minutes after the incident.
As for Hyderabad, they did pull one back inside the final 10 minutes, but that was just too little too late for the team.
On a night when Sougou scored a brace, Raynier Fernandes as well as Mato Grgic proved out to be the orchestrators, as it was their vital contribution which surged Mumbai to an emphatic victory.
Raynier – A smart presence over the field
Mumbai were bound to miss Machado against Hyderabad. Given the flare and extra dimension the Portuguese provides in every aspect of the game, it was Raynier’s turn to take the centre-stage. The local hero, whose name echoed around the ground every time he was on the ball, was heart and soul of all of Mumbai’s attacks on the night and despite being dominated in terms of possession, he ended his tenure with 41 touches and 29 passes. The 23-year-old was majorly tasked to do the dirty work and he returned with a figure of six tackles, two interceptions and as many crucial blocks.
Grgic standing tall
With Mumbai down to 10-men, there was still time for Hyderabad to walk away with all three points. Costa, on his part, deemed particular about his substitutions. The Portuguese introduced three defensive players, but had it not been for Grgic, Mumbai would have left wondering what went wrong.
The second period belonged to Hyderabad all ends up, but Grgic made sure nothing goes past Amrinder Singh. The Croatian, in fact, completed his game with a whopping 11 clearances, four blocks and one interception. A commanding general of Mumbai’s defence, the 32-year-old stood tall in helping Mumbai getting the deserved three points.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @IndSuperLeague