" Bharat tried hard but failed to stage a comeback as a resilient Sporting backline…
Creative midfielder Taisuke Matsugae scored a brilliant goal in stoppage time to help Mumbai FC beat a fighting Bharat FC 2-1 and finish the I-League Football in sixth position with 24 points at the Cooperage ground on Saturday.
While Mumbai had taken an early lead in the game, played in hot and humid conditions, Bharat FC’s Palestine import Omar Jaarun came off the bench and scored.
The game seemed to be drifting to a draw when Mumbai’s Japanese import Taisuke, who missed quite a few games in the middle of the season due to an injury, scored with a running header off an inch-perfect goalmouth right cross from Mohammed Rafi, who had been fed by Climax Lawrence.
In fact, it was a clever move to send the Japanese up front in place of an off colour Josimar. Earlier, Lawrence had sent in the cross off a corner kick from the right for Mehta to jump over the Bharat FC defence and bury his header into the left bottom corner of the net and provide Mumbai the lead in the 10th minute.
Bharat FC, who had no clear view of the rival goal in the first half, brought in Omar up front from the bench in the second half and started dictating terms, which bore fruit in the 70th minute when the Palestinian flicked the ball over the rival goalkeeper and made it dip into the goal off a pass from Surajit Bose.
In the end, it came to a piece of brilliance from Taisuke to break the deadlock and give Mumbai their fifth win – and second against Bharat FC after a 2-0 first leg verdict – of the season.
Debutantes Pune-based Bharat FC finished at the bottom of the 11-team pile with 18 points but as per the decision of the All India Football Federation they cannot be relegated for three years.