A single moment of madness from Ahmed Jahouh turned the game on its head as the Moroccan midfielder was given the marching orders just before half time. In the early moments of the second half, NorthEast United was awarded a penalty, and that proved to be the winning goal of the match.
With this win, NorthEast United FC started season seven of the Indian Super League with a win at the Tilak Maidan in Goa.
Kwesi Appiah (49') scored the lone goal from a penalty after the Islanders were reduced to 10-men following Ahmed Jahouh's red card just before the half time break.
In the early stages, it looked like NorthEast were aiming for nothing more than a goalless draw, extreme caution visible in their game plan.
It was Mumbai who dominated the first half. The Islanders were composed and proactive for long spells, though they were unable to find a defence-splitting pass. Despite having players like Jahouh, Hugo Boumous, and Rowllin Borges, all capable of creating magic on their day, Sergio Lobera's side failed to get a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
Mumbai City FC did keep hold of ball possession for long periods and did create some gaps in the NorthEast United defence which the Mumbai attackers failed to make use off. Ashutosh Mehta cleared a beautiful attempt from Ogbeche after the Nigerian striker got the ball from a Le Fondre cross. Mumbai though didn't get any clear cut chances.
With Jahouh being shown the red card for a tackle on Khassa Camara, NorthEast United FC capitalised on the man advantage and managed to earn a penalty after the ball struck Rowllin Borges arm inside the box.
Kwesi Appiah made no mistake from the spot as he sent Amrinder the wrong way to give NorthEast United the lead.
With Mumbai City FC under pressure and chasing the game, NorthEast United took control of the game and did create a few more chances with the likes of Ninthoi and Imran Khan wasting some good goal scoring opportunities.
Sergio Lobera did try different things by bringing in CY Goddard in place of Ogbeche but to no avail, as the Highlanders defence kept the Islanders at bay. Mumbai had a rare opportunity in the 65th minute when Sarthak got his head to a cross, but his effort sailed inches over the bar. Lobera's team kept knocking on the door in the final quarter, but an equaliser eluded them. Khassa Camara was awarded the man of the match for his brilliant performance.
NorthEast United FC managed to win their first game of the season for the first time after the 2016-17 season.Published 21 Nov 2020, 23:49 IST