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'Sarthak is out for the season', Jorge Costa sheds light on defender's injury after victory against NorthEast United FC | ISL 2019-20

Costa admitted that Mumbai would have to do without Sarthak for the rest of the season
Costa admitted that Mumbai would have to do without Sarthak for the rest of the season

At the start of the 2019-20 ISL campaign, Mumbai City FC shipped goals for fun. In fact, before the encounter against Bengaluru FC on the 17th of January, 2020, they’d conceded more goals in 12 games than they did in the entirety of the previous season.

Since then though, the Islanders have allowed only a solitary goal, which incidentally, was a penalty against Hyderabad FC. Post a clean sheet at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday, Jorge Costa was grinning from ear to ear, quipping,

Obviously I am very happy with the performance. We didn’t concede goals today and NorthEast also didn’t have many chances to score. I told my players that they had only two choices for today and that was to win or to win. And, they came through.

To put things into perspective, the Islanders had reduced the visitors to one shot on target, meaning that the Highlanders often looked a side devoid of ideas. However, that wasn’t how the game began, especially as Federico Gallego dominated proceedings in the early exchanges.

The Uruguayan found himself in space on numerous occasions and was accorded the time to turn and pick his passes. Yet, just as the midfielder’s influence was growing, Mumbai managed to sniff out that danger, thereby laying the platform for a clean sheet. On the above, Costa remarked,

We are not perfect and we can keep discussing those aspects till tomorrow. Always, there are one or two players that are not doing what I want the team to do. Even today, at the beginning, it was a small problem because Gallego was having the ball. But, in the end, I feel we deserved the three points.

Thus, while the result on the pitch sent a positive vibe across the Islanders’ dressing room, Costa also confirmed the extent of Sarthak Golui’s injury, commenting that the defender would be ruled out for the remainder of the season owing to a knee injury.

Yet, despite the injury to Sarthak, the suspension of Pratik Chaudhari, or the mid-game niggles Subhasish Bose and Sourav Das suffered, Mumbai stood up to be counted and emerged from the rubble unscathed, despite not being at their best.

Unsurprisingly, the Portuguese was impressed with the application the likes of Bipin Singh, Mohammed Rafique and Valpuia displayed. He said,

I am very happy with how they performed. We are a very good team and these players showed the bravery and courage to take up responsibilities to help the team. Nothing pleases me more than knowing that my players will do anything I ask for the good of the team.

Courtesy the victory, Mumbai City FC perched themselves among the top four in the ISL table, a couple of points clear of Odisha and five ahead of Chennaiyin FC, although Owen Coyle’s troops have two matches in hand.

Yet, as the season has entered its home stretch, the Islanders are clicking through their gears adeptly. And, while the match against NorthEast might not go down as the greatest the club has ever played, they ensured that they came away with three points, which in Costa’s words was absolutely imperative.

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Edited by Vishal Subramanian
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