NorthEast United faced yet another setback in the ISL 2022-23 as they lost their seventh straight game of the season, to the Mumbai City FC, at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
Mumbai City FC beat the Highlanders 3-1 to climb to the top of the table, while the hosts remain at the bottom and are yet to open their account this season.
Marco Balbul's side were on the wrong side of an early penalty decision. The referee committed a mistake by pointing to the spot after Rochharzela fouled Greg Stewart outside the penalty box.
Northeast United players were left infuriated by the calamitous call once the referee awarded the penalty. Ahmed Jahouh converted from the spot to drive Des Buckingham's side into a lead in the 10th minute.
Rochharzela had a chance to redeem himself. The winger picked up the pieces but failed in an attempt to chip Phurba Lachenpa, who hesitated to collect the ball following a tame header from Mehtab Singh.
However, the lead did not last long, thanks to a fatal error from Mehtab seven minutes after the opener. The centre-back's attempt to split the midfield was intercepted by Parthib Gogoi, who drove forward and blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Vinit Rai capitalized on a poor first touch from Joe Zoherliana and played a through ball to Bipin Singh after winning the possession. The Mumbai City winger squared the ball to Lallianzuala Chhangte, whose poor first touch allowed the goalkeeper to rush down and keep out his effort.
Mumbai broke away on the counter-attack and led the game for the second time. Bipin headed the ball home after an exquisite cross from Stewart found him at the far post.
Des Buckingham's half-time team talk encouraged his side to attack during the opening seconds of the second half. Pereyra Diaz pounced on an error from the shot-stopper Mirshad, whose failure to handle the ball properly ended up at the Argentine's feet.
The goalscorer Parthib Gogoi acted as the creative fulcrum by setting up Imran Khan. The winger, however, hit the side netting and failed to reduce the deficit to one in the 59th minute.
Alberto Noguera reached for the ball to take a shot following Lallianzuala Chhangte pinched the ball off Imran Khan. However, Mirshad was equal to the task and kept out Noguera's attempt at the near post.
Greg Stewart nearly made full use of Zoherliana's tame clearance and struck the upright with a powerful shot in the 76th minute. The Scottish international took another shot before full-time, but Mirshad was able to parry the ball away for a corner.
Mumbai City FC will take on Odisha FC in Bhubaneswar on Friday, while a stern test against FC Goa awaits Mumbai City FC on Thursday.