After losing their first three matches in 2015 Hero Indian Super League, Mumbai City FC were at the bottom of the League Table last week. But victory in the next three games at home has catapulted them to the second place. It all began with their match against Delhi Dynamos on Wednesday October 21, when two superb strikes from India captain Sunil Chhetri in 13th and 74th minutes ended DD’s three-match unbeaten streak and brought the first win for Mumbai in 2015 season. Mumbai next hosted FC Goa on October 25 and it was Chhetri once again, who began by putting Mumbai 1-0 ahead. With Piquionne scoring another goal in the second half, Mumbai recorded their second consecutive win at home. Mumbai’s next match against NorthEast United FC on October 28 had its own tale. Rooted by home supporters at DY Patil Stadium Navi Mumbai, the hosts literally outplayed NEUFC in the highest-scoring match of 2015 Hero ISL. Like in the matches against Delhi and Goa, Sunil Chhetri was in fine form in securing a hat-trick and with Sony Norde and Frantz Bertin also adding a goal each; Mumbai recorded a 5-1 victory. 9 points from 3 games have taken Mumbai to second place behind FC Pune City in ISL standings.
Just a week back, Mumbai were placed last in the points’ table after losing the first three matches of the current ISL season. But in a sudden quirk of fate, they scored one win after another and with an impressive 5-1 victory over NEUFC on October 28; they now occupy the second place behind Pune. In their fourth match against Delhi Dynamos at Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium on Wednesday, Mumbai scored 2015 season’s first victory. Delhi Dynamos had won their last three matches on trot but came a cropper against Mumbai. The hosts looked in good from start and scored their first goal in 13th minute. In a superbly coordinated effort between Chhetri and Norde, Chhetri had the presence of mind to adjust himself and find the target after Norde’s shot was blocked. In second half, Mumbai had more chances as Chhetri turned provider for Norde. However, Delhi defended well and didn’t concede any goal until the 74th minute, when Norde’s low cross found Chhetri in good position. Chettri was not to err as he scored his second goal. Delhi had their chances but missed the target on several occasions.
Mumbai continued their new-found form, when they hosted FC Goa on Sunday October 25. Until then, Goa had been the table-topper of the 2015 season. The visitors started well after kick-off with a plethora of chances. First Narayan Das shot wide from out of the box and then Leo Moura’s volley went over the crossbar. In the 9th minute, Goa came close to taking the lead but Raju Gaekwad’s corner-kick was headed wide by Victorino Fernandes. Mumbai soon picked up from where they had left in their match against Delhi 4 days ago. They threatened Goa with a 13th minute cross from Sony Norde but the ball just missed the target. Mumbai finally took the lead, when Piquionne was wrongly brought down by a Goa defender and the referee pointed to the spot in the 33rd minute. Chhetri made no mistake with the spot-kick. In the second half, Mumbai consolidated their lead to 2-0, when Piquionne headed home from a lovely cross in the 48th minute. Despite their best efforts, Goa failed to score and Mumbai recorded their second successive victory.
When Mumbai took on NorthEast United FC at DY Patil Stadium on Sunday, almost the entire show had Sunil Chhetri’s indelible stamp. NEUFC made a lively start with Nicolas Velez having two close chances in 8th and 11th minutes. Velez, however, couldn’t beat the brilliant Mumbai goalkeeper. Mumbai soon took the lead after a penalty award in the 25th minute, when NEUFC’s Carlos Lopez handled the ball in the box and Chhetri smartly converted. However, NEUFC equalized 5 minutes later with Boithang Haokip’s curling free-kick in David Beckham style. In 38th minute, Mumbai almost took the 2-1 lead, but Pavel Cmovs’ lovely header from a corner only struck the crossbar. However, that miss was made up pretty soon, when Norde found Subash Singam in the box, whose header came to the unmarked Sunil Chhetri. The Indian star just needed to tap in as Mumbai led 2-1 at halftime.
Three minutes after interval, Mumbai earned another penalty, when NEUFC’s Andre Bikey handled the ball in the goal area. Yet again, Chhetri converted and became the first Indian to score a hat-trick in Hero Indian Super League. With his sixth goal of 2015 ISL season, Chhetri also equaled Stiven Mendoza of Chennaiyin FC as the joint-highest goal-scorer. Norde made it 4-1 for Mumbai three minutes later and when skipper Bertin scored in the 87th minute, Mumbai recorded the 5-1 victory against NEUFC and jumped to the second spot behind FC Pune in the League Table.