Mumbai City FC ended their campaign on a positive note, despite failing to qualify for the Hero Super Cup semi-finals after a 1-0 win over Chennaiyin FC at the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.
Before the start of the game, both teams were in the running to qualify for the semi-finals. But NorthEast United FC’s massive 6-3 win over Churchill Brothers FC simultaneously at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode saw them through, courtesy a superior head-to-head record against Mumbai City.
Ayush Chhikara’s 33rd minute strike put Mumbai ahead, as they went on to hold the lead despite repeated second half attempts by Chennaiyin.
Meanwhile, Wilmar Jordan Gil was on song for NorthEast United as he scored the opener away at the Payyanad Stadium. His goal potentially threw Mumbai City out of the semi-finals race for the time being.
Ayush Chhikara scored his first goal for the Hero Indian Super League 2022-23 Shield Winners in the 33rd minute, to make the Group D standings interesting. The youthful forward tapped in from close range to make it 1-0 after a glorious run and assist from the left flank by Bipin Singh.
Before half-time, Jordan scored another for the Highlanders as they kept creeping forward in the semi-finals race. Between Mumbai and Chennaiyin, the defenders from both sides had a tough night as they tussled to maintain the lines and stave off constant dangerous attacks.
In the 54th minute, Des Buckingham’s men survived a scare when Nawaz almost put the ball into the back of his own net, after failing to get control of an incoming ball. Chennaiyin continued to launch more ferocious attacks to pressurise the Islanders’ rather shaky defence. On two occasions, Nawaz managed to catch hold of incoming low shots on target as the scoreline remained unchanged.
In the 81st minute, Md. Rafique came tantalisingly close to equalising for Chennaiyin. The substitute attacker went for a technically strong volley off a corner, but his strike brushed the wrong side of the crossbar to go wide.
Mumbai City held on to their slender lead till the final whistle, despite multiple attempts from the Chennaiyin to bounce back. The win, however, went in vain as their Hero Super Cup 2023 campaign came to an unfortunate conclusion.