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2022 AFC Champions League, Group Stage
  • Ali Mabkhout (40' PEN)

AFC Champions League: Mumbai City FC suffer narrow 0-1 defeat against Al Jazira

Mumbai City FC became the first ever Indian team to win an AFC Champions League game. Mumbai City FC

Mumbai City were brought back down to earth following their historic win over Air Force Club in the AFC Champions League, going down narrowly to Al Jazira by a 1-0 scoreline. Ali Mabkhout's first-half penalty proved to be the difference between the two sides in a keenly contested game at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh.

The other Group B encounter saw Al Shabab and Air Force Club play out a 1-1 draw, thus relegating Mumbai City, with three points, to the bottom of the table with three games to go. Al Jazira also have three points, with Air Force Club on four, while Al Shabab lead the way with seven.

There was an early blow for Des Buckingham's side, with defender Amey Ranawade being stretchered off in the ninth minute, being replaced by Mehtab Singh, with Rahul Bheke moving to right back. The rejigged Mumbai backline was caught out by a delicious long ball in the 18th minute, as Al Jazira striker Bruno controlled and shot, drawing an excellent save from Mumbai goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz.

The Abu-Dhabi based club dominated possession in the first half, but Mumbai were afforded a rare chance on the half hour mark, when Bheke raced on to Ahmed Jahouh's long diagonal and sent a first-time volley narrowly over the bar. Minutes later, Abdoulay Diaby drew another fine save from Nawaz with a drilled effort from the edge of the box.

It was another shot from Diaby that ultimately gave Al Jazira their goal, with Mehtab's raised arm grazing the ball in the box, resulting in a penalty. Ali Mabkhout stepped up, and shot to Nawaz's left, with the Mumbai goalkeeper guessing correctly and getting his fingers to it, but the ball squeezed past him, thus resulting in Al Jazira taking the lead in the 40th minute.

Nawaz kept Mumbai in the contest early in the second half, charging down Zayed Alameri's shot in the box. The Indian side were much improved in the second half, with Mourtada Fall sending a header narrowly wide on the hour mark after a corner was recycled.

Al Jazira were content to hold on to their lead and nearly conceded in the 87th minute, when Bheke's speculative shot from range left Ali Khasif Housani scrambling in the Al Jazira goal, but the shot cannoned off the crossbar.

Raynier Fernandes and Mourtada Fall spurned a great chance to equalize from Lallianzuala Chhangte's corner in the 90th minute, with the pair miskicking their attempts in the box as Al Jazira held on for all three points..


Fixtures

MCFC 0-3 Al Shabab (10.45 PM, April 8)

Air Force Club 1-2 MCFC (10.45 PM, April 11)

Al Jazira 1-0 MCFC (10.45 PM, April 14)

MCFC vs Al Jazira (10.45 PM, April 18)

Al Shabab vs MCFC (1.45 AM, April 23)

MCFC vs Al Quwa Al Jawiya (1.45 AM, April 27)

The LIVE telecast will be on Disney+ Hotstar/Star Sports.

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