NorthEast United conceded their first defeat of the season as Mumbai City FC got better of the Highlanders by a solitary goal at the Mumbai Football Arena, Andheri. The scoreline might suggest otherwise, but it was a very interesting match with both teams playing neck to neck.
Here are five talking points of the match:
#1 Vingada's plan for Mumbai City FC
Nicholas Velez and Sityasen Singh found their names in Nelo Vingada’s starting XI as he played a peculiar 3-5-2 formation in NorthEast United’s first away game of the season. Considering the depth of Mumbai’s attack, NorthEast also started with their marquee signing Didier Zokora.
The intention was to defend well and rely on counter attacks to score. With fast players like the duo named above starting, Vingada had a definite plan for Mumbai.
Within moments from the kickoff, NEUFC’s shape changed to 4-1-4-1, while Mumbai playing 4-2-3-1 started dominating the attack. Playing with a high backline, for most part of the first half, Mumbai kept the ball at the visitors’ end. But a tight defensive framework of the NorthEast defenders perforated no space for MCFC forward line to attack.
And keeping true to the strategy, NorthEast did show promising counter in the first half, as towards its end one could see quite a lot of close chances for the visitors, which they could not convert.