Mumbai City FC news: Islanders become first Indian club to win in AFC Asian Champions League

The Iraqi club broke the deadlock through Hammadi Ahmed before goals from Diego Mauricio and Rahul Bheke handed historic three points for the Indian club.

Mumbai City FC's Diego Mauricio scored the winner against Air Force Club on Monday; Credit: Twitter/@MumbaiCityFC
By Sreejith C R | Apr 12, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Mumbai City FC came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory against Air Force club in the AFC Champions League Group B tie on Monday. It was a historic result for the Islanders as they became the first Indian club to win a game in Asia’s elite club football competition. After conceding in the 59th minute, MCFC fought back to level the score through Diego Mauricio’s penalty in the 70th minute. Defender Rahul Bheke scored his team’s winner, with a header in the 75th minute. The 2020-21 Indian Super League Shield winners had lost the opening match 3-0 against Al Shadab.

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Air Force club asserted themselves in the game from the early minutes, forcing MCFC deep into their own half but the Iraqi side couldn’t convert their chances. Inside the opening nine minutes, Bipin Singh’s poor back pass allowed Alaa Abbas to have a go at goal, but the striker’s effort lacked any venom and MCFC goalkeeper Phurbu Lachenoa did well to quickly come out of his line and close down the space. 

MCFC had their first chance when Ahmed Jahouh set it up for Lallianzuala Chhangte, but the winger blasted his effort wide. At the other end, Abbas’ header from a Dhurgham Ismail’s assist went over the bar before the latter tried to force his shot from a tight angle.    

The best chance of the half fell to Air Force Club in the 34th minute but Hussein Jabbar struggled to guide Ismail’s effort into the back of the net from in front of goal while Lachenpa was forced into a fingertip save three minutes later, denying Abbas’ effort.

After the break, Air Force Club almost punished MCFC when Ismail dispossessed Jahouh just outside the box before setting up Shareef Abdulkadhim, who with only the keeper to beat, sent his effort wide. 

The Iraqi club deservedly broke the deadlock just before the hour-mark when Al Abood’s effort from inside the box squirmed through MCFC defender Mourtada Fall and fell nicely for Ahmad to coolly slot home from close range. 

Mauricio and Bheke secure three points

After conceding the goal, MCFC played with more intent and won a penalty in the 70th minute when Maurico was brought down inside the box by Ali Kadhim. The Brazilian stepped up and converted the spot kick to level the score. 

Five minutes later, the ISL outfit took the lead through Bheke. The defender headed home from a textbook corner from Jahouh to seal the game and a historic first three points. 

MCFC will look to build on the win when they play UAE’s Al Jazira on Thursday while Air force Club will be hoping to bounce back against Saudi Arabia’s Al Shadab FC. 

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