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Mumbai boys rock in Kolkata

sports Updated: Sep 30, 2008 23:34 IST
Dhiman Sarkar

Never before in different avatars of this league has Goliath been slain twice. To Mumbai F C goes that credit. No one's going to mess around with them now.

Two matches in a city, an official called "almost home", ensured that. Even during their recent downward spiral, few teams have beaten Mohun Bagan and East Bengal away in successive rounds. But by taming a team with five India players on Tuesday, the debutants showed that beating Bhaichung Bhutia's Mohun Bagan was no fluke.

True, they needed a slice of luck this evening but then, doesn't fortune favour the brave and the disciplined?

In a match studded with goal-bound movements, it was ironic that only Felix Aboage's strike separated the teams.

The Ghanaian chested Riston Rodrigues's free-kick, turned outside, beat Khelemba Singh and even as he was falling, managed a toe-poke that was too acute for even Subrata Pal.

East Bengal threw everything they had but twice Syed Rahim Nabi showed that the profligacy of the first half hadn't stopped in the second. The second of those misses, in the 55th minute, was more galling because with possibilities on the left (Ashim Biswas) and on the right (Sunil Chhetri), he ballooned over.

And in the middle of one-way traffic which Mumbai FC, like against Mohun Bagan, did their best to cope with, Abel Hammond missed producing the knockout punch, off Aboage's header, in the 74th minute.

Quite an interesting first half this battle of equals produced. Mumbai FC led but before and after Aboage's slick strike, East Bengal really took the game to the visitors. Sunil wasted a superb left-foot pass from Nabi after beating James Dissiramah; his attempt at a placement going straight to Choubey. Two minutes later, in the 32nd, Edmilson's attempt to lob Choubey after Dissiramah had gifted him a ball narrowly went over. Misses that will surely sour East Bengal's Durga Puja break.

Result: Mumbai FC 1 (Aboage, 23rd); East Bengal 0