ISL: Mumbai City drub Goa to set up title clash with Mohun Bagan Super Giant

Lallianzuala Chhangte of Mumbai City celebrates his goal against FC Goa. Photo: X/@MumbaiCityFC

Mumbai City FC set up a finals date with the Mohun Bagan Super Giant after defeating FC Goa by 2-0 in the second leg of their semi-final fixture of the Indian Super League (ISL) on Monday.

The Petr Kratky-coached side are thus set to rematch the Mariners for a shot at becoming the ISL Cup Winners after the Kolkata-based side beat them to become the ISL Champions earlier this month. Leading 3-2 from the first leg, a strike each by Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Lallianzuala Chhangte in the second half ensured that the Gaurs didn’t produce a late comeback, akin to the one that the Islanders had propped up in the reverse fixture in Goa.

Chhangte, with nine strikes to his name this term before this game, was a teasing presence around the defence of the Manolo Marquez-coached team. The star winger had scored 10 goals in ISL 2022-23, when he was crowned with the Golden Ball award. In certain phases of this season, it appeared that he would be unable to match up to his numbers from the last campaign.

However, his form picked up just as Mumbai City FC began gaining steam in the last few months, with Chhangte coming to their rescue in multiple important moments. Tonight was one of them, with his goal in the 83rd minute a result of the Gaurs exploring opportunities upfront after the overall aggregate tilted 4-2 against them after the opening strike by Diaz.

As the entire Islanders setup got pulled back behind to defend against the FC Goa offensive onslaught, the dynamic duo of Vikram Partap Singh and Chhangte teamed up to slice open the backline of the Gaurs. Vikram’s through ball met Chhangte, who eased past Ayush Dev Chhetri and Udanta Singh to find the back of the net for the Islanders for the 10th time in ISL 2023-24.

However, the foundation of that was set up by the opening goal from Diaz. Mumbai City FC overloaded the box with numbers upon sensing a goal-scoring opportunity from a corner kick in the 69th minute. Skipper Rahul Bheke, positioned on the far post, firmly headed the delivery that was stopped by FC Goa goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh. However, Diaz, staying true to his sharp scoring skills, lapped upon the rebound and netted it home from close range to help his men get a decisive foot forward in the proceedings. Finally, Mumbai City FC confirmed their placing in the summit clash with a thumping 5-2 victory on aggregate across both legs against the Gaurs.

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