Mumbai City FC came from behind to overcome a spirited Indian Arrows 2-1 in the third match of the Hero Super Cup qualifiers at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday.
Rahul KP (76th minute) drew first blood for Arrows but Achille Emana (90+1) and Everton 104th ensured Mumbai had the last laugh.
It was the youngsters of the Arrows side comprising mostly of India U-17 players, who had the most chances in the first half, which was otherwise bereft of too many goal scoring opportunities.
However, it was Mumbai who got the first chance of the match as early as the 7th minute when a snapshot by Brazilian midfielder Everton from inside the box, ricocheted off the post.
The match then slowly swung towards the Arrows, with Stalin forcing a good save from Amrinder of a free-kick in the 12th minute and Deepak Tangri being stopped by Raju Gaikwad who cut down a solo foray into the box.
The Arrows maintained their momentum in the second half with Rahul K.P latching on to a stray ball in the 56th minute but he was able to only hit it straight into Amrinder’s hands. The bar came in his way next minute as his shot struck in the 62nd.
Finally, in the 76th, he outpaced Mumbai captain Goian and calmly placed the ball to the left of Amrinder, into the back of the Mumbai net.
As clock ticked by it seemed Arrows were heading towards a famous victory but the game turned on its head when a long ball on top of the Arrows box was trapped by Everton on the right and he drove into the box and in the process was felled by Ashish Rai’s leading leg resulting in a penalty.
Cameroonian Emana calmly slotted it past Prabhsukan Gill to make it 1-1 in the 90th.
An additional 30 minutes was always going to be tougher on the junior pros and in the 104th minute Goain managed to find Everton with a long ball who then unleashed a right-footer on the turn to bulge the net. Prabhsukan managed to get two hands on to it but could not keep the ball from going in.
The spirited Arrows team tried to get back in the game in the dying minutes but Mumbai held on.
Mumbai will now go on to play Kingfisher East Bengal on April 5, in the main draw of the tournament which beings on March 31.
In another match, ATK secured their place in the pre-quarters of the Super Cup after defeating Chennai City 3-1.
Hitesh Sharma’s stunning strike was cancelled out by Jean Joachim. Zequinha and Ashutosh scored in the second-half before Robbie Keane’s finish sealed full points for the Kolkata-based Indian Super League side over the Southerners.