Mumbai City FC finished their season after getting knocked out of the Super Cup on Friday night. The Islanders went down 2-0 to Chennaiyin FC in the pre-quarterfinals at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Mumbai City had defeated Chennaiyin twice in the Indian Super League this season during their impressive nine match unbeaten streak but the young squad that included only one foreigner in Romanian defender Lucian Goian, failed to click this time. Islanders had got a direct entry into the Round of 16 owing to their semi-final finish in the ISL-5.
Chennaiyin FC who finished at the bottom of the ten-team league, had beaten Colombo FC 1-0 on aggregate in the AFC Cup Playoff qualifiers to get some boost. They carried momentum with CK Vineeth opening the scoring and Jeje Lalepkhlua almost instantly doubling the lead. Both goals came late in the first half. John Gregory’s unit had walkover in the Super Cup qualifier after Aizawl withdrew from the game.
Mumbai City coach, Jorge Costa who will be in charge of the team next season also focused on the positives in the post match press conference.
“I think we made a wonderful season. We finished on the top four. It was our target. We made mistakes during the season but with all the problems we had since the beginning, with our budget, knowing that we were the last to start the season. I told the players that I am very happy and very proud of them. Today, we did our best with the resource we had. We played good. We made mistakes. That’s all to finish the season,” he told reporters.
The Portugese coach with an eye already on the next season had included defender Mohammed Kaif Khan and midfielder Nakul Shelke from the Islanders’ U-18 team.
Reliable foreign players Arnold Issoko, Modou Sougou, Rafael Bastos, Paulo Machado, Marko Klisura and Matias Mirabaje were either released or left out.
Issoko and Machado had been live wire in the mid-field setting up goals and Sougou ended second top scorer of the League. Bastos had scored in each leg of the semi-final against FC Goa.
“We are going to play this competition thinking about the next season. We have only one foreign player in Lucian Goian. There are some players who have the opportunity to play and show me that they have the qualities that I’m looking for,” Costa had said ahead of the Super Cup match.
Costa who won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League for FC Porto and made 50 appearances for the Portuguese National Team as a player, brought to the fore a strong and effective counter-attacking brand of football. He will be looking to build on that in the next season.