Nicolas Anelka said prior to the game between NorthEast United FC and Mumbai City FC that once his side concedes a goal, the momentum automatically gets down. That's what happened on Friday evening at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.
The hosts rallied on goals from Bruno Arias and Diomansy Kamara on either halves of play to get a 2-0 victory to move to the fourth place. For Mumbai City FC, it was a second straight loss.
The visitors got off to a lively start, as Anelka and Sunil Chhetri, along with Saran Singh, combined well to force some good saves from NorthEast United FC custodian Rehenesh from early-on. For the hosts, Victor Mendy and Francis Dadzie remained a key figure in the attack, as they kept on capitalising on the counter-attacks.
The breakthrough for the hosts came in the 41st minute as Bruno Arias blasted the net from a spot kick. The penalty was awarded to Cesar Farias' side after Mumbai City FC defender Rowilson Rodrigues got his sliding challenge on Diomansy Kamara horribly wrong inside the box, and also received a booking.
Although experienced Indian custodian Subrata Paul dived in the right direction, the powerful shot from Bruno was not savable. It was a cagey half to be honest, and Cesar Farias' side had the slender lead going into the break.
The second half remained quite tight, but the hosts had a chance to get the second goal of the game in the 70th minute mark. Nico Velez, who came on for Mendy in the half, toyed with the Mumbai defence as he used his pace and trickery to launch a cross from the right inside the penalty box.
Dadzie got at the end of the ball, but Pavel Cmovs displayed some good man-marking skills, to prevent the shot on goal. Sony Norde finally made his appearance for the away side in the 75th minute mark, but could not make much impact.
Seityasen Singh had a go on goal in the 78th minute mark, but his shot saw the ball travel inches past the post. The home side kept piling up the pressure, and Kamara finally doubled the lead for Farias' side in the 87th minute of play. Simao remained the assist for the goal, as the ex-Portugal international's delivery from the free-kick was inch-perfect.
It was drama during the closing stages as Simao's delivery from the free-kick once again saw the header of Cederic Hengbart on goal, but Subrata got a finger tip on it. Velez slotted in the ball from rebound, but the linesman had his flag raised.
Mumbai City FC are now winless from five straight games.