Mumbai City FC packed a strong punch to outclass Delhi Dynamos FC 4-0 and leap to the second spot on the table after an ill-tempered Indian Super League game. Such was the intensity of the game that one player from each side was red-carded in the first half.
The goal-getters for the home team, which scored its second successive win, were their Romanian captain Lucian Goian (12th minute), the Brazilian mid-field duo Everton Santos (43rd) and Thiago Santos (49th) and Indian international Balwant Singh (79th minute), his fifth of the season and third in the last two matches.
The three points gained from the match helped Mumbai take their tally to 13 points from eight games and jump three spots from fifth spot and lie in second place, three points behind league leaders Chennaiyin FC. Delhi, who had suffered a 1-5 defeat to FC Goa earlier, remained at the bottom of the league by suffering their sixth successive loss in seven ties.
The closing stages of the first half of the match, played at a fast pace with plenty of fouls marring it, deteriorated into a physical fight and resulted in the sending off of Sehnaj Singh of Mumbai and Claudio Matias of Delhi for indulging in a fracas in added-on time. Sehnaj brought down Matias on the left wing as the Uruguayan midfielder was on a sprint with the ball and then put his hand on the latter’s face.
The latter retaliated and referee Rahul Kumar Gupta red-carded both, who later continued to fight in the players’ tunnel, leaving both the teams with ten men to play with in the second half. Before the fracas, Mumbai dominated the half and deservingly took a handy 2-0 lead too while Delhi muffed a few chances that came their way.
Mumbai were on the attack from the whistle and got a penalty awarded when the speedy Everton Santos, put through by a Raju Gaekwad-Balwant Singh combined move, was brought down by a flying tackle from Delhi custodian Arnab Das Sarma on the left side of the penalty area. The spot-kick by Cameroonian Achille Emana, who had a good game, struck the left post and captain Lucian Goian ran forward and left-footed the ball that went in after hitting Arnab’s body.
The 12th–minute goal by the home team skipper stung Delhi a bit. Although they could not stitch some decent passes at a stretch, the effort was on and it nearly bore fruit midway through the session but for Romeo Fernandes and S Nandhakumar blasting wide in close succession. In the 32nd minute, Mumbai goal had another close shave when Matias’s stiff left-footer, after he took hold of a faulty clearance, hit the right post.
But it was Mumbai who found the net again as Everton Santos rose up at the near post to turn in with his head a corner taken from the right by Emana to give Mumbai a 2-0 lead in the 43rd minute. Down 0-2, Delhi attacked with gusto and nearly scored when a defensive error by Abinash Ruidas saw three successive attempts at the goal by the visitors went waste before the ugly fight between Sehnaj, who had returned after a four-yellow-card induced suspension, and Matias erupted and both were marched off.
Mumbai put the issue virtually beyond Delhi early in the second half by taking advantage of some inept defending by the visitors. The corner from the left by Emana was headed on to the far post by Everton Santos beating Arnab under the bar and the rebound was latched on to by his Everton’s Brazilian compatriot Thiago Santos who flicked it in.
Thereafter the hosts, with ten men on the field like their rivals, stuck to their big lead and also increased it when Emana’s chip into the penalty box was chested by Balwant whose weak left-footer was let in by Arnab as he was at the wrong side of the goal. Balwant had scored both the goals in Mumbai’s 2-0 away win over North East United FC prior to today’s game.
Mumbai were without first choice goalie Amrinder Singh, who got hurt in their previous away game against NEUFC and seasoned Arindam Bhattacharya got the chance to tend the home team’s goal.