Skipper Lucian Goian scored the winner for the Islanders.
Mumbai City FC piped NorthEast United FC 3 – 2 in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. Lucian Goian made amends for an own goal by hitting the winner late on. Before that Achille Emana and Everton Santos had also scored for the Islanders, while Sambinha was the only NorthEast scorer on the night. The win keeps alive Mumbai’s hopes of making it to their second consecutive playoffs and speaking to the media during the post-match press conference was their head coach Alexandre Guimaraes.
The Costa Rican shared the game-plan that led them to three points despite falling behind. “It was not easy to get out of the situation that we had put ourselves into,” he remarked. “We started the game well and got the advantage by scoring the first goal. Then we slowed down and our opponents profited from the scenario. I told the players to adjust certain things, but to continue playing like they started, because we are not out of the game, and we got the goals in good moments. I am very proud of my players. I am very happy because now we go to Delhi with chances of making the playoffs.”
Guimaraes then revealed the instructions that he shared with his players at half-time. “My instruction at half-time was to first reorganize, to not go to attack while losing our defensive positions,” he said. “Then we made adjustments in the back and in the midfield. Then after the 2 – 2 score-line, we had to go for another goal. We got chances, but we did not lose the organization at the back. And we continued to attack well-positioned and get the winner.”
The 58-year-old also praised NorthEast for a good show on the pitch that had Mumbai on the ropes at times. “They (NorthEast) have been playing well,” Guimaraes stated. “This shows that every game in the Hero ISL is difficult. You never know. You cannot be 100% sure of anything. They played well, they played clean and made the match very exciting.”
Meanwhile, Northeast United’s assistant coach Eelco Schattorie admitted that the Islanders were the superior team, while also highlighting the mistakes his side made. “I think overall Mumbai were the better team,” he remarked. “They were in control of the game. For the first 15 minutes, there was no organization on our side. I was shouting to the team to get the organization correct. And we only corrected it after we were down 1 – 0. But we opened up too much throughout the game.”