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AFC Champions League: Mumbai City go down 0-2 to Neymar-less Al Hilal

Navi Mumbai, Nov 6 (IANS) Mumbai City FC came up with an attacking display but went down to Saudi Arabia Pro League champions Al Hilal 0-2 in their Group D match in the AFC Champions League at the DY Patil Stadium in Narul on Monday.

Having lost the away match to the Saudi Champions 6-0, Mumbai City FC coach DEs Buckingham shored up his defence by including Rahul Bheke in the backline, replacing Vikram Singh in the attack. The Islanders put up a better display even though they went down 0-2.

With Al Hilal coming into this game without the talismanic Brazilian Neymar (JR), who will be sidelined with a knee injury for several months, head coach Jorge de Jesus fielded a strong lineup with Ruben Neves coming in the centre alongside Aldawsari and Kanno. Aleksander Mitrovic who scored a wonderful hattrick in the away leg led the front line once again.

Mumbai City FC made their intentions clear from the opening whistle when Jorge Diaz had an early attempt from just outside the box, but it was deflected by Kalidou Koulibaly. Moments later, Chhangte found Greg Stewart with a brilliant ball, the latter’s shot from a tight angle forced a save from AL Hilal Keeper, resulting in a corner for Mumbai.

Moments later, Diaz had another chance when he went through on goal, but his shot was blocked by Al Hilal’s goalkeeper, Alowais once again coming off his line to deny the Islanders the lead.

Al Hilal soon showed their attacking prowess, with Michael Delgado testing Phurba Lachenpa from the centre of the box. Minutes later, Hassan Tambakti unleashed a long-range effort that sailed over the bar. A corner from Kanno found Malcom, who headed just wide of the goal as the scoreline remained 0-0.

The two teams continued to create chances but failed to put the ball in the back of the net.

Finally, in the 62nd minute the deadlock was broken, Al Burayk sent in a teasing ball from the left wing into the Mumbai box, allowing Michael Delgado to ghost in behind Mishra and head home the opening goal of the night.

The goal seemed to boost Al-Hilal’s attack as Mitrovic had a chance in the 66th minute to double the lead, but his shot was saved by Lachenpa. In the 70th minute, another of Mitrovic’s shots hit the post and came back across the goal line, narrowly avoiding the goal.

Coach Des Buckingham made a couple of chances in search of an equaliser as Vikram Singh replaced Jorge Pereyra Diaz, while Chhangte was substituted for Vinit Rai.

However, it was Al Hilal who scored their second goal and sealed victory.

A short corner for Al Hilal in the 84th minute saw Malcom Oliveira cross the ball to the far post from inside the box. An unmarked Mitrovic at the far post headed it on target to make it 2-0.

At the other end, Vikram made a couple of good runs on the wings, winning a corner, but Mumbai failed to test the Al Hilal defence as the game eventually ended with the visitors taking home all three points.

Mumbai City FC now head into the international break, and upon their return, will resume their AFC Champions League campaign with a match against Nassaji Mazandaran on November 28.



Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad is a news channel and fortnightly newspaper meant for Australia’s Indian community and, besides news, focuses on lifestyle subjects like health, travel, culture, arts, beauty, fashion, entertainment, Bollywood, etc. Our YouTube channel here features daily news bulletins besides infotainment videos on lifestyle subjects.

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