ISL Season 7: NorthEast United down 10-man Mumbai City

Precious goal
Kwesi Appiah celebrates after scoring the opening goal. Photo: ISL
SHARE

Vasco: Kwesi Appiah scored from the spot as NorthEast United FC began their Indian Super League (ISL) campaign with a 1-0 win over Mumbai City FC here on Saturday.

A red card and a penalty turned a game, that Mumbai were otherwise dominating, on its head and handed NorthEast United a winning start at the Tilak Maidan.

Appiah scored the only goal from a penalty in the 49th minute after the Islanders were reduced to 10-men following Ahmed Jahouh's red card just before the breather.

In the early stages, it looked like NorthEast were aiming for nothing more than a goalless draw, with extreme caution visible in their game plan.

Predictably, it was Mumbai who dominated the first half. The Islanders were neat and proactive for long spells, though they were unable to find a cutting edge.

Despite having players like Jahouh, Hugo Boumous, and Rowllin Borges, all capable of creating magic on their day, Sergio Lobera's side failed to get a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes.

Action aplenty
Action from the NEUFC-MCFC match. Photo: ISL

They did hold the lion's share of the possession that occasionally resulted in hopeful efforts. In the 12th minute, Adam le Fondre's cross from the right wing found striker Bartholomew Ogbeche. The resulting effort though was intercepted by NorthEast defender Ashutosh Mehta.

In the next few minutes, an Ogbeche header went over the bar while Jahouh took two attempts from distance. A clear-cut chance though was still eluding Lobera's men.

Then, the match took an unexpected turn as Jahouh, who was dictating things from midfield, was sent off with a straight red, a couple of minutes before half-time. His offence was a studs-up challenge on NorthEast's Khassa Camara.

Marching orders
Ahmed Jahouh is shown the red card. Photo: ISL

Gerard Nus' men capitalised on their numerical advantage soon after the restart. The Highlanders were awarded a penalty when the ball struck Borges' arm after NorthEast's Dylan Fox had headed in a short corner. Appiah sent keeper Amrinder Singh in wrong direction.

With Mumbai now under pressure, NorthEast took control over the game with Khumanthem Meetei and Appiah making regular inroads. Lobera made a tactical change replacing Ogbeche with Stephen Goddard, giving Le Fondre a central role up front.

Mumbai had a rare opportunity in the 65th minute when Sarthak got his head to a cross, but his effort sailed inches over the bar. Lobera's team kept knocking on the door in the final quarter, but an equaliser eluded them.

MORE IN FOOTBALL
SHOW MORE
The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.