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Mumbai FC score another upset

Last updated on: September 30, 2008 23:13 IST

Debutants Mumbai FC pulled off a second straight upset, beating East Bengal by a solitary goal, in the ONGC I-League in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Having already upset fancied Mohun Bagan 2-1 in their league opener on Saturday, Mumbai FC, backed by a sterling display by their defenders, led by man-of-the-match Selwyn Fernandes, scored through Felix Aboagye in the 23rd minute at the floodlit Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium to register their second straight victory in the competition and sit atop the league table with six points.

Credit should also be given to their goalkeeper, Kalyan Chaubey, who impressed with some fine saves.

Both the teams started cautiously and it took more than 15 minutes for the real action to start.

East Bengal almost scored in the 20th minute, but they must be ruing the fact that three of their players, despite being ideally placed in the penalty box, failed to convert a Rennedy Singh corner.

In what appeared the best chance for the home team, Singh's corner kick from the right was well taken by Sunil Chhetri, who headed it cleanly but only to be blocked by a Mumbai FC defender.

It did not end there as Edmilson scooped the ball but an alert Chaubey deflected it, showing his fine skills in front of the goal.

The deflection found Mehrajuddin Wadoo, but the East Bengal midfielder, instead of slotting it home easily, shot over the bar in what could have given the Red and Gold brigade the upper hand.

The golden chance wasted, East Bengal conceded a goal two minutes later. Aboagye only had to provide the finishing touches to a Riston Rodrigues cross in the 23rd minute and put the Mumbai side ahead.

Seven minutes later, India striker Chhetri, who defied an ankle sprain to turn up for the match, met a good cross from Syed Rahim Nabi but the diminutive striker, after chesting the ball, could only shoot straight to an alert Chaubey.

East Bengal again went very close but goal eluded them as, this time, their Brazilian star forward Edmilson's shot ballooned over the bar.

The second-half was no different with East Bengal coming close to scoring on more than one occasion but failing to convert their chances.

Mumbai FC coach David Booth praised his wards, especially his defenders, for their impressive show.

"Today, we were never in danger... They never got to our backline..."

Indirectly taking a dig at the plight of East Bengal, which boasts six national stars in their line-up, Booth said, "Our team believes in teamwork. We have no stars. Everybody expected to do well and play their bit."