- Parthib Gogoi (32')
- Jorge Pereyra Díaz (26', 38')
Mumbai City FC edged past NorthEast United FC by 2-1 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati to begin their Indian Super League (ISL 2023-24) campaign in winning fashion on Sunday.
Des Buckingham's men picked up from where they had left it last season, with their frontline functioning in tandem right from kick-off. Bipin Singh dropped down in the middle to receive a pass from Lalengmawia Ralte to initiate the move for the first strike of the night. The winger played an incisive through ball for Lallianzuala Chhangte inside the box, who squared off a pass that was tapped in by Diaz to round off a neat move by the visitors in the 26th minute.
NorthEast responded strongly as they gradually began pressing higher up in the quest for an equaliser. Asheer Akhtar swiftly cleared a ball from the backline that was received by Parthib Gogoi on the inside of the left flank, a few yards away from the box. The winger cut in and shot from distance in an effort that took stunned Mumbai's goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz. The custodian dived on his left but couldn't keep the ball out of his net.
Mumbai struck back within six minutes as Chhangte and Diaz combined once again. Dutch midfielder Yoell van Nieff played the ball to Chhangte, who then lobbed in a cross to Mehtab Singh at the far post. The defender headed the ball in Diaz's path and the Argentine made no mistake from close range to make it 2-1.
Buckingham's side adopted a cautious approach to hold on to their lead as the game progressed. Mohammed Ali Bemammer kicked off an attacking move for NorthEast that resulted in Manvir Singh getting a header on target, but Nawaz made the block to ensure his side took home all three points on offer.
Mumbai City FC will next travel to Bhubaneswar to face Sergio Lobera's Odisha FC on September 28, while NorthEast United will host Chennaiyin FC a day later.
- Senthil Nathan