Jamshedpur did ATK Mohun Bagan a huge favour as the Mariners now need only two points to seal the top position…
Mumbai City FC had 25 points after the first 10 matches where they had won eight, drew one and lost just one game but in their last games, they have managed to collect just nine and one in their last five outings.
They had a resounding four points lead at the top of the table after the first phase of the league but now that the ongoing season of the Indian Super League (ISL) has entered its business end, Mumbai City are now five points behind current leaders ATK Mohun Bagan.
On Saturday, Sergio Lobera’s side suffered their fourth defeat of the season and third in the last five games as they went down 0-2 against Jamshedpur FC.
Owen Coyle’s side played smart football and outsmarted the Islanders and to pick up crucial three points to mathematically remain in the race to finish among the top-four teams in the league.
Jamshedpur did not have much of the ball but they did create more chances than Mumbai. They had taken 10 shots on goal compared to the Islanders’ three and four of them were on target.
Coyle fielded his team in a familiar 4-4-2 formation with Nerijus Valskis starting after a gap of two games alongside Farukh Choudhary’s. Jamshedpur midfielder Aitor Monroy and Alex Lima were entrusted with the responsibility of bullying Mumbai’s then and there in the midfield area. The two central midfielders executed their coach’s plan perfectly. They tracked back timely to support the backline and when needed, went up to support the attackers. In fact, it was from Monroy’s assist that David Grande scored the second goal and sealed the fate of the match in their favour.
While Sergio Lobera did agree that their style of play is slowly getting predictable, it is true that most teams have now identified the epicentre of all their attacks, that is Ahmed Jahouh and are keeping strict vigilance on the Moroccan.
Mumbai only have themselves to blame as they not only struggled to create any openings but also looked devoid of ideas.
With Jahouh not allowed to play his natural game and Hugo Boumous suspended, Mumbai’s impotence in attack was visible. Also in the attack, instead of trusting Adam Le Fondre, the Spaniard should have deployed Bartholomew Ogbeche from the start, or at least much earlier in the game, in order to counter Jamshedpur’s physically strong backline.
Boris Singh, who made the jump to Jamshedpur after struggling for game time at ATK Mohun Bagan, made an instant impression, scoring the opener after making a nuisance of himself in the six-yard box.
Credit must be given to the former Chennaiyin FC manager for keeping his team in the hunt for the play-offs considering all the set-backs he had earlier in the season due to injuries and suspensions.
Also, they did good business in the January transfer window by bringing in Farukh Chaudhary and Len Doungel. Chaudhary had an outstanding outing against his former club.
Mumbai still has a chance of topping the league albeit slim and Lobera has to go back to the drawing boards and try and chalk a different sort of plan and style for his team for the remainder of the season.