Mumbai Tigers (Dodsal FC) turned in a clinical performance to vanquish an enterprising South United FC 3-1 in the second division I-League at the Football stadium here on Friday. The local side took a shock early lead through Vinoth Kumar but goals from Sunil Kumar, Mohammed Rafi and Bikash Jairu finished South United off.
The result, coupled with Southern Samity’s 2-0 win over Hindustan FC later, ensured the two victors on the day stayed jointly on top of the Group ‘C’ table.
South United picked up from where it had left off in the previous game — its first win — and began boldly. The early aggression caught Mumbai by surprise. In the ninth minute, T. Amoes slipped Vinoth in behind the defence with a delightful ball and the latter made no mistake.
Mumbai recovered almost at once. Sunil Kumar’s in-swinging corner on 15 minutes eluded the crowd of players in the box, including the South United goalkeeper Razakh who ought to have done better, and went all the way in.
The local side, to its credit, did not sit back. This allowed for a lively, open game, with chances at both ends. South United’s forward thrust opened up abundant space behind its fullbacks. Mumbai had been threatening to strike on the counter-attack and duly did so to take the lead on 39 minutes.
Striker Demba Diakhate was released on the right; his delivery found Rafi who calmly rounded the ’keeper and scored.
The pattern continued into the second half: South United pushing hard for the equaliser (Stephen and Vignesh Gunashekhar came close) and the opponent waiting to strike on the break.
Mumbai’s efficiency shone through again, resulting in a third goal on 74 minutes that put the game to bed. Rafi’s pass found Bikash Jairu just inside the area and the substitute expertly lobbed the ball over an ill-positioned Razakh.
South United’s build-up play was excellent on the day, but without cutting edge in attack, the team was left with no reward for its efforts.
The results: Mumbai Tigers 3 (Sunil Kumar 15, Mohammed Rafi 39, Bikash Jairu 74) bt South United FC 1 (Vinoth Kumar 9); Hindustan FC 0 lost to Southern Samity 2 (Suraj Mondal 48, David Ngaihte 71).
Saturday’s match: NRB Vasco vs Kalighat Milan Sangha.
Keywords: second division I-League Football