David Booth has become the man with the Midas touch.
For the third time in a row since their debut in the I-League, the British coach's promoted outfit Mumbai FC slew another Goliath of Indian football, scripting a 1-0 win over former champions Mahindra United at the Cooperage in Mumbai on Saturday.
The architect of the victory was midfielder Kalia Kulothungan, an ex-Mahindra alumni, whose stunning strike in the 23rd minute clinched a memorable win for the yellow and blue outfit.
But man-of-the-match and stopper back James Dissiramah, reserve goalkeeper Amit Singha Roy and medio Subhas Chakraborty, whose superb run and cut back resulted in the goal, also contributed to the hard-fought win.
Mahindra have yet to beat Mumbai FC in three meetings, having been held by them recently in the Durand Cup while losing in the local league last season.
This is also the third successive defeat for the star-studded 'Red Devils' in the I-League, a harkback to the early days of the NFL when they were a piddling team.
Derrick Pereira's men continue to languish in the cellar, having scored just two goals and conceded six with nary a point, while Mumbai FC remain in second place with nine points (behind Sporting Clube, who have the same number of points but a superior goal difference).
Apart from taking their chances -- the goal came off their second move and showing great resolve in the defence, Mumbai FC did not merit much credit.
Their defence wilted in the second half under constant pressure and only the profligacy of the rival forwards saw them escape to victory. They were also not sharp enough in their counters and their two African strikers, Felix Aboagye and Abel Hammond, were not full value for money.
It was the local stalwarts who had the greater share of the game, but again, their shooters let them down, perhaps a reflection of their over-reliance on a top-heavy midfield. Spearhead Chidi Edeh had another forgettable outing, the versatile midfielder Pierre Douhou, who played in the box, was not at his creative best, while substitute Sushil Kumar Singh, who dons the national colours, could not take his chances in the second half, despite creating havoc in the rival box with his nip and thrust.
The losers played N P Pradeep as a roving midfielder and the sturdy Malayali had an impact on the proceedings -- he almost helped Mahindras draw level with a header which was cleared on the goalline by Dissiramah and also tested Roy with a couple of stunning long rangers, the last coming in added on time.
But the Mumbai FC custodian rose to the occasion with some brilliant saves.
The only downside of Mumbai FC's famous victory was the booking of their two wing backs, Anas Edathodika and captain Sanjay Parte, while substitute Steven Dias (Mahindra) earned a yellow from referee Benjamin Silva.