Mumbai: Two second-half goals — one each by Kondwani Mtonga and Felipe de Castro — saw NorthEast United FC post an away win to Mumbai City FC in the Hero Indian Super League football at the D.Y. Patil stadium here on Friday evening. The result sees the visiting team move to the second spot in the standings with 7 points from four games while the host remains on 3 points from as many games.
Mtonga turned out to be the surprise packet for the visitor in the early minutes after the interval. He outwitted Mumbai City FC’s dogged Portuguese defender Tiago Ribeiro and beat the onrushing goalkeeper Subrata Paul with a precise right foot flick.
Playing its first away game and in pursuit of a second win, NorthEast United mounted further pressure on the home team, which played without Andre Moritz, the chief architect of its big win over FC Pune City recently, in the second half. It finally bore fruit in injury time when Brazilian Felipe de Castro scored through a splendid left-footer.
At the receiving end for much of the first half, things turned around remarkably for the visitor after resumption of play. Paul a virtual spectator under the bar in the first session had to summon all his resources to keep the rivals at bay.
Twice he brought his skill and experience to the fore, but could not foil Mtonga. The 30-year-old Zambian made the most of a lovely chip from his Spanish colleague Koke, who did the hard yards to counter Moritz’s good work in the first half. It was just the sort of goal that stunned the substantial home crowd and excited a large group of North East supporters. Their day was made when Felipe beat Paul to score the second goal.
Felipe, who had come in as a substitute for Zambian Issac Chansa, could have put his team in the lead after receiving a through ball mid way through the first half. However, his shot sailed wide. Felipe did not make a mistake with the second opportunity when the home team was actually pressing hard to find the equaliser.
New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert expressed his delight over Felipe’s goal.
Moritz was probably the lone playmaker as long as he was on the pitch; but somehow he and his teammates lacked the finishing touch and twice NorthEast United goalkeeper Rehenesh made fine saves.
As the flow of the game slackened towards the end of the first 45 minutes of play, the home team showed its frustration; defender Peter Costa fouled and referee David Gantar pulled out the yellow card.
The defeat leaves a lot for home team coach Peter Reid to mull over.
Even Fredrik Ljungberg’s presence — as a substitute for Moritz — did not add value to the side in the second half.
Cardwise too it was miserable news for the home team; defender Pavel Cmovs received a second yellow and red. This after Ljungberg left the field hurting his left hamstring. The home team was down to nine in the end.
The result: Mumbai FC 0 lost to NEUFC 2 (Mtonga 57, Felipe de Castro 90).