Mumbai City ended their maiden AFC Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win over Air Force Club of Iraq, with Diego Mauricio scoring the only goal of the game in the 31st minute. The result meant Mumbai finished second in Group B with seven points and two wins. Al Shabab qualify for the knockouts as group winners with 16 points, but Mumbai's seven points were not enough to take them through.
Mumbai were already eliminated from contention coming into this game, although Air Force Club still had the chance of qualifying for the knockouts. Yet, it was the Indian side who began on the front foot, with Lallianzuala Chhangte forcing Mohammed Salih into a fine save with a low drive across goal in the ninth minute.
Salih's opposite number in the Mumbai goal, Phurba Lachenpa, produced a great save of his own in the 24th minute, tipping over Wilson Akakpo's header at the far post from a corner. Salih made another crucial save minutes later, charging down Bipin Singh's shot in the box after the Indian forward had outfoxed the Air Force defence with some clever touches.
The decisive moment of the game came in the 31st minute, as Salih failed to collect substitute Bradden Inman's long range strike, deflecting it into the path of a lurking Diego Mauricio, who made no mistake from a narrow angle and tapped in the rebound. Mumbai went into the break a goal ahead, although Air Force Club were a tad miffed after a goal was disallowed.
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The Islanders end their campaign on a high note as they steal the Falcons' chance at Round of 16. They become the most successful Indian club after accomplishing 2 wins in their maiden season �� #ACL2022 | #MUMvAFC pic.twitter.com/TmBqPZ8aLk
- #ACL2022 (@TheAFCCL) April 26, 2022
The Iraqi side came out all guns blazing in the second half, with Shareef Abdul Kadhim's superb run into the box causing plenty of consternation for the Mumbai backline as they cleared his cross. Ibrahim Bayesh's long range effort on the hour mark took a deflection, but sailed over.
Air Force grew desperate as the half wore on but were unable to fashion clear-cut chances. Hammadi Ahmad came close from a free-kick in the 69th minute, but his effort flew wide of the post. Muntadher Alhasan let fly from the edge of the box in the 90th minute, but Lachenpa was on hand to punch the ball away.
Air Force ramped up the pressure in injury time, with substitute Mehdi Boukassi fashioning space in the box. The Algerian's shot from a narrow angle beat Lachenpa and looked set to nestle in the back of the net, only for Mehtab Singh to clear awkwardly off the line, thus earning all three points for Mumbai City.
MCFC 0-3 Al Shabab (10.45 PM, April 8)
Air Force Club 1-2 MCFC (10.45 PM, April 11)
Al Jazira 1-0 MCFC (10.45 PM, April 14)
MCFC 0-0 Al Jazira (10.45 PM, April 18)
Al Shabab 6-0 MCFC (1.45 AM, April 23)
MCFC 1-0 Al Quwa Al Jawiya (1.45 AM, April 27)