ISL 2021-22: Igor Angulo shows class to lift Mumbai City against sloppy FC Goa

Igor Angulo struck two goals in his first match against his former club FC Goa as defending champions Mumbai City made a winning start to the 2021-22 ISL season.

Igor Angulo scored 14 goals for FC Goa in ISL last season. Image: Twitter/@IndSuperLeague

When the then 36-year-old striker Igor Angulo signed for FC Goa ahead of the 2020-21 season of the Indian Super League, the obvious question was will the veteran be able to match the goal-scoring rate of fan favourite Ferran Corominas.

Corominas, nicknamed Coro, scored 55 goals for the club in his three seasons in India. But he was 37, and it was time to move on. In came, Angulo from from Polish club Gornik Zabrze. The Spanish forward found the net 14 times in his debut season, winning the Golden Boot award, as Goa narrowly missed out on a spot in the final.

On Monday night, the striker struck twice again, this time to hand Goa a defeat in their campaign opener. Angulo moved to defending champions Mumbai in the transfer window and in their 3-0 win, showed what Goa are missing.

Both teams have a somewhat similar style of playing with players preferring to control the ball, and it was a similar script as Mumbai and Goa began their latest ISL campaign. The biggest difference, however, was Mumbai’s intent to press forward and attack the opposition’s goal while Goa seemed more content with ball possession.

The first 30 minutes of the game witnessed both the teams cancelling each other out at times despite some clear goal-scoring opportunities or what should have been clear goal-scoring opportunities. Mumbai’s Vignesh Dakshinamurthy was brought down in the box by Leander D’Cunha in the 13th minute after the full-back sprinted into the penalty, cutting past the defenders. But for some reason, the referee denied a penalty call that was clear as day. Vignesh, however, had to be subbed off after taking a hit on his calf.

Mumbai’s Raynier Fernandes skied his shot from a close range in the 25th minute. In the 30th minute, Glan Martins stole a ball from Ahmed Jahouh inside the box but Goa’s Airam Cabrera failed to get to the end of the subsequent pass.

Angulo scores two in three minutes

The game was crying for a finisher and so Angulo stepped up. Cássio Gabriel earned a penalty for Mumbai in the 32nd minute, and Angulo sent it into the back of the net. Goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem made the right guess but had no chance to stop the thunderous strike.

Three minutes later, Angulo sent one more past Dheeraj. This goal had class written all over it. With a measured touch, the striker killed the quick cross from the midfield and slotted it past the goalkeeper, to the extreme right corner in the net.

Goa made a spirited start to the second half but were unable to find goals as Mumbai sealed the match with a third goal in the 76th minute. Brazilian Ygor Catatau got his first goal in the league with a free header that raised more questions about Goa’s defending which lacked composition on the night.

Mumbai were not at their fluent best, and that is understandable. They have a new coach in Des Buckingham, replacing Sergio Lobera, and had five newcomers — Angulo, Cássio, Catatau, Mohammad Nawaz and Rahul Bheke — in the lineup. Still, they were better in transitions than Goa. Their backline did enough to keep Goa silent and strikers made use of the opportunities. One can only expect them to get better as the season progresses.

Sloppy Goa

Goa, on the other hand, have their core intact from the last season. Juan Ferrando had ample time to work with his players, but will be bitterly disappointed with how the things transpired for them at the Fatorda Stadium.

Their full-backs were inefficient against the counter-attacks launched by Mumbai. When they controlled the ball, the transition was poor, especially in the final third, which led to few clear-cut chances. Whenever the chances came, the forwards were unable to pounce on them.

Luckily this is just the start of the season, and Goa are too good a team not to get back to their best soon. The job currently for Ferrando and Co are to go back to the drawing board, regroup, and rectify the mistakes. For Mumbai, it’s about the three more points against Hyderabad FC on 27 November.

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