Cellar outfit Mumbai FC scored its maiden victory of the season and did it in style by outclassing Salgaocar SC from Goa 3-0 in the sixth round I-League encounter at the Cooperage ground.
Playing only their second game of the season at home after playing at Pune for the last few seasons, Mumbai FC rode roughshod over their Goan opponents in the first half to take a 2-0 lead, defended extremely well for the major part of the latter half and rounded off the tally in added on-time.
Sampath Kutty Mani shocked the visitors when they were about the settle down on the artificial surface with a pile-driver from five metres outside the box in the sixth minute.
Brazilian import Josimar Martins applied the finishing touches to a good move with a superb header in the 26th minute to increase the lead to 2-0 before he provided the pass for under 23 player Jayesh Rane to complete the rout in the first minute of added on time.
This was a great win for Mumbai against an outfit against whom they had been at the receiving end in the league since 2012 and boosted their points tally to four from six games, with one win, one draw in their opening home game here and four losses.
It was the visitors’ second loss in six matches, their only other reverse coming against Royal Wahingdoh on January 23. They have won two and drawn two to remain on right points.
Salgaocar hardly had a look at the rival goal in the opening half which was completely dominated by the hosts. The Goans came into their own in the latter half, but were denied by some superb goalkeeping by Nidhin Lal and some astute defending.
Salgaocar were rocked by Kuttimani’s early strike as the powerful shot completely foxed India goalkeeper Subrata Paul.
Then came their second goal, off a well-crafted combination move on the right which resulted in Rane sending an excellent cross to the far post for Josimar to leap over the rival defence and nod downwards into the goal.
The change of ends saw Salgaocar come in with vigorous play but they were foiled repeatedly at the back by the home team defense led by Nigerian Chika Wali and some adept goalkeeping by Lal who kept out a stiff essay from Gurjinder Kumar.
Later the upright came to Mumbai FC’s rescue to foil Pierre Douhou in a scrappy half in which two home team players - Wali and Ashutosh Mehta - were booked.
Midfielder Rane, who stood out with his ball play and body dodges, finally got just rewards for his hard work when Josimar set him up to score in added-on time.