Sunil Chhetri and Frederic Piquionne found the net in either half as Mumbai City FC defeated table-toppers FC Goa 2-0 at the DY Patil Stadium here on Sunday.
Chhetri gave Mumbai the lead by converting a penalty in the 33rd minute after Goa defender Raju Gaikwad had pulled Frederic Piquionne from behind inside the penalty box. Piquionne (48th minute) scored the hosts’ second goal shortly after the break when he headed in a cross from Juan Aguilera.
Mumbai are now sixth on the eight-team tablke with seven points from five matches. Goa continue to hog the top spot with 10 points from six games.
The visitors, however, had started on a strong note with Narayan Das firing wide after a speculative shot from outside the box early on. Leo Moura also shot over the bar for the Goans moments later.
Goa almost took the lead in the ninth minute, but Raju Gaekwad’s flick from a corner was headed wide by Victorino Fernandes.
Mumbai City FC’s first threatening moment came in the 13th minute. Sony Norde’s deflected cross fizzed across the Goan penalty box before going out of play inches from the far post. The hosts started growing in confidence as the game went on
The breakthrough came courtesy a brilliantly taken Chhetri penalty after the referee adjudged that Piquionne had unfairly been brought down in the box. Chhetri confidently stepped up and did the rest, bagging his third goal in as many matches.
He could have scored agains just minutes later, but for Goa goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani pulled off a brilliant save. Chhetri was having a major influence on the game by this stage and minutes later he played in Piquionne who was denied by another excellent save by Kattimani.
Goa almost scored near the hour mark when Fernandes was played through on goal with just the keeper left to beat. His shot failed to meet the target though, after an on-rushing Mumbai custodian Subrata Paul did just enough to put him off. Paul denied Fernandes again in the 66th minute by diving low to his right.
FC Goa head coach Zico made several changes in an attempt to turn things around, bringing in Mandar Rao Dessai, Joffre and Romeo Fernandes. Mumbai however, were in no mood to let their advantage slip as marquee player-cum-coach Nicolas Anelka decided to come on himself and see the remainder of the match out.