Mumbai City FC stumbled in the last hurdle in their race to the playoff after Chennaiyin FC pipped them 1-0 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday. It was their former captain Lucian Goian who turned out to be the party-spoiler for the Islanders as his volley in the 83rd minute proved to be the demarcation line.
Chennaiyin FC made one change to the side that beat ATK 3-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. Their right-winger Andre Schembri had to be taken off moments before kick-off after he suffered an injury in the warm-up. Dragos Firtulescu replaced him in a like-for-like change.
Mumbai City FC, on the other hand, made two changes to the side that got hammered 2-5 by FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao. Bidyananda Singh and Bipin Singh got relegated to the bench as Amine Chermiti and Sourav Das took their place in the starting line-up.
The game had a tepid pace until the 54th minute when Mumbai City FC's Sourav Das was shown a red card for taking down Lallianzuala Chhangte who was through on goal. With a man down and players getting tired, it always seemed as if the Islanders would concede.
Chennaiyin FC's Nerijus Valskis flicked a corner-kick from Rafael Crivellaro to the far post and Lucian Goian made no mistake in smashing the ball past the Mumbai City FC goalkeeper. Neither side could manage to score a goal later as the Marina Machans punched their tickets to the semi-final in style.
Mumbai City FC gave a decent fight throughout the season but all their hard work got undone in the final game of the season. Here are 5 things which went wrong for the Islanders in the 2019-20 edition of ISL.
#5 Lost steam early in the season
Mumbai City FC began their campaign with a 1-0 victory over Kerala Blasters but lost the steam thereafter. Losses to FC Goa and Odisha FC coupled with sharing the spoils with Chennaiyin FC, NorthEast United FC, ATK and Kerala Blasters in the first half meant the Islanders found themselves with only 7 points from the first 7 matches.
No one gave Mumbai City FC a chance to reach the playoffs but Jorge Costa turned the things around with back-to-back victories over Bengaluru FC, Jamshedpur FC, and Hyderabad FC. In a short league like the ISL, those three wins quickly put the Islanders back in the top four.
But, looking back, one does realize that Mumbai City FC took too much time to get in their groove which proved to be costly in the business end.