Pune, Feb 6 (IANS) Mumbai FC registered their first victory in seven matches when they dented Churchill Brothers’ title hopes with an inspiring 2-1 win in a 19th round football I-League clash at the Balewadi Sports Complex Monday.
This was Mumbai’s first win in 2012 and helped them stay away from the drop zone for some more time as the Essel Group-promoted outfit went six points clear of Chirag United Kerala.
Mumbai now have 17 points from 19 matches, while Chirag is on 11 from 18 with one game against Pailan Arrows to be played on a later date.
Churchill remain on 33 points, but their bargaining power of having played one game less than other top teams fizzled out with Monday’s loss.
Both Churchill and Mumbai began at a brisk pace. Churchill deservedly took the lead through N.D. Opara in the 20th minute.
Unlike in past few matches, Mumbai FC kept their morale high with relentless runs into Churchill’s half.
Gbeneme Friday had moved up in the right corner from where the Nigerian sent a measured pass into the box. Lalwmpuia was on target but Bhattacharya punched it out only to see the ball go straight to Cavin Lobo.
The Mumbai FC midfielder had been unlucky earlier on, but this time he had enough space between the defenders to measure his shot that left the goalkeeper stranded.
In the 83rd minute, Dhanachandra scored an unlikely winner for Mumbai to send them clear of the relegation zone.