ISL 2016 | Mumbai steal three points in Maha Derby

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©ISL Media

ISL 2016 | Mumbai steal three points in Maha Derby

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SportsCafe Desk


The highly-anticipated derby between Pune City and Mumbai City did not live up to the billing. The home side failed to convert their dominance of the ball into a goal, while a moment of magic from Diego Forlan and Matías De Federico earned the visitors a scrappy 0-1 win in their opening game.

Pune City XI: Edel (GK); Bheke, Soares, Gouramangi, Das; Lucca, Herrero; Rodrigues, Oberman, Izumi; Tato

Pune's new marquee signing Mohamed Sissoko is yet to be available for selection which meant Jonatan Lucca and Bruno Herrero paired up at the base of the midfield-three. Former Barcelona graduate Jesus Tato led the attack upfront while Arata Izumi added to the goal threat in the midfield.

Mumbai City XI: Roberto (GK); Khongjee, Ali, Goian, Ralte; Halder, Vadocz; Sehnaj, Costa, Federico; Forlan

With Bengaluru FC still involved in the AFC Cup, Mumbai City were missing their star striker Sunil Chhetri from the lineup. But Diego Forlan is not a shabby replacement to have, is he? Anwar Ali, who was part of the sturdy Delhi Dynamos defence last season, made his debut for Mumbai in this match in what was a completely changed defence for the visitors.

Pune's initial dominance

The home side made a flying start to the game and dominated most of the ball in the opening exchanges in the derby. Lenny Rodriguez's pace and trickery troubled Mumbai's left back Ralte, while Tato ran in behind the Pune back-four for fun. Mumbai's midfield was being bypassed very easily by the home team, who were being egged on the by the supporters.

However, despite their dominance of the ball, Pune failed to score a goal. Their best chance of the half came in the 37th minute of the match when a lovely through ball from Narayan Das put Tato through on goal, and the Spain forward did everything right—from timing his run to controlling the pass—but was let down by his finish, which was easily saved by Roberto Volpato in the Mumbai goal.

Pune allow Mumbai time and space, and they get punished

After playing a high-press game in the first half, Pune began to back off in the second half. They allowed Mumbai to enjoy possession of the ball, and this came back to haunt them.

MomarNdoye, who came on for Pune in the second half, started on the left wing, which allowed Izumi the freedom to roam in the middle. But the midfielder failed to make any significant impact even with such tactical freedom. Eventually, he was subbed in the 62nd minute, as Pune's intensity on the pitch began to drop off.

Mumbai grew into the match with the likes of Halder and Vadocz seeing much more of the ball in the midfield. Eventually, in the 68th minute, Pune were made to pay for their slack play. A long pass from Khongjee on the right wing found Forlan at the edge of the Pune box, and the former Manchester United striker produced a delightful back-heel touch to lay the ball in the path of Matias De Federico. The Argentine shifted the ball to his left foot and found the back of the net with a powerful drive that left Edel scampering in the Pune goal.

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