As Matchweek 4 of ISL kicked into action on Sunday. There was an early kickoff at 5 pm saw two polar opposite teams with polar opposite seasons lock horns. Mumbai City FC was coming into this fixture off the back of a dominating 3-0 win over East Bengal. On the other hand, Odisha had only managed to procure one point out of the nine available to them. They clearly had a lot to prove in this game and they knew that they had the quality in them. Their match week 2 draws against Jamshedpur had been a hard-fought draw. Wherein despite being 2-0 down, Diego Mauricio had plunged into the depth of late added injury time to get a brace and finish the game 2-2. Unfortunately, this had been the only instance where Odisha had managed to get on the Scoresheet.
Going into the game, everyone knew that Odisha’s lethal Centre Forward had the ability to score. And it should be only a matter of time before they starting scoring again. On the other side of things, Mumbai’s coveted striker Ogbeche had raised many eyebrows after transferring from Kerala Blasters.
Mumbai City FC
GK- Amrinder Singh
Defense – Rakip, M.Fall, Mehtab Singh, Vignesh D
Midfield – Rowlin Borges, A. Jahouh, Cy Goddard, H. Bomous, Bipin Singh
Attack – B. Ogbeche
GK- Kamaljit Singh
Defence- Ricardo D, J. Tratt, Steven Taylor, S. Sarangi
Midfield – Alexander C, G. Bora, N.Sekar, D. Lalhlimpuia, Jerry M
Attack – Diego Mauricio
The game started well with both the teams looking very active in the opening fifteen minutes. Odisha put good pressure on Mumbai but was ultimately unable to have a good tactic against Mumbai’s well-crafted long balls. Odisha had a freekick at a dangerous spot early in the game and Diego Mauricio almost got a goal. But unfortunately, the ball flew ever so slightly over the crossbar. Had it been on target, there is a good chance that Amrinder would not have been able to get to it. Both Rowlin and Jahouh were working as a multi-faceted DMF unit to intercept threats and to meticulously place long balls onto their players upfront. Despite some good tackles by Steven Taylor early on, Jahouh’s delicate long ball to Cy almost made it to the back of the net but lacked instantaneous volley technique.
At the end of the 30-minute mark. Vignesh, at the edge of Odisha’s box tried to knick the ball onto a receiver but caught Sarangi’s hand and in a controversial call, Mumbai was given a penalty. Ogbeche smashed the ball into the bottom left corner and while Kamaljit guessed right, there just was too much power behind Ogbeche’s strike. A few minutes later, the play saw another controversial call. Wherein Mourtada Fall’s monstrous header was disallowed as he towered above the defender to score that one and ended up fouling him.
Mumbai practically dominated the game. In the last few minutes of the first half wherein, a really good cross by Bipin was almost met perfectly by Bombus. Despite a couple of close calls going unrewarded, Mumbai did pile on to Odisha’s misery when they doubled their lead in the 45th minute. Another quality cross by Bipin Singh was met well by the unlikely hero Rowlin who smashed it past the keeper.
Early on in the second half, Ogbeche took a quality shot across the goal from inside the box but quality defending prevented Mumbai from piling on further. Odisha finding it difficult to get some quality in the final third. As most of their plays were doused down by a lack of creativity and momentary collapses. In the 65th minute though, Diego Mauricio almost forced a parry off of Amrinder when he struck a venomous low shot toward the near post. Thankfully, the captain parried the ball well enough to reach to it before any Odisha player could nudge it in.
As the match progressed further, frustration built up at Odisha’s end and both their center backs finished the game with a booking to their name. Arguably, the second yellow card for Taylor was the result of a poor minded challenge. This is a major reason why Odisha is currently the team with the most yellow cards. Overall, Mumbai did enough to keep the threat alive and see out the game comfortably. A few late chances for Odisha ignited a bleak spark for a late comeback but they never could do enough to go through with it.
After their shaky start, Mumbai continues to impress showcasing their new talent from all over the world. Lobera has indeed transformed this team into another version of Manchester City’s bold total football style play. The possession dominance and the other dominating stats paint the picture of a team who just wasn’t shrugged off. As for Odisha, they would want to manage more than 30% possession and more than a shot on target in their next game if they are hoping to make a late run for the ISL top 4.