Clinical Al-Shabab run riots against Mumbai City in a 6-0 rout￼
Mumbai City was handed a 6-0 humbling by Saudi Arabian giants Al-Shabab in their fifth 2021/22 AFC Champions League fixture on Friday. A Hattan Bahebri hat-trick, a Mourtada Fall own-goal and strikes from Abdullah Al-Jouei and Carlos comprised the six goals scored by the White Lions.
Des Buckingham made a couple of changes to the team that drew 0-0 against Al-Jazira in the last fixture. A fit-again Igor Angulo was preferred to Diego Mauricio upfront, whilst Vinit Rai made way for Raynier Fernandes in the middle of the park.
On the other hand, Marius Sumudica made four changes to his starting XI following a 3-0 triumph against Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya. In defense, Iago Santos and Moteb Al-Harbi came in for Hassan Tambakti and Abdullah Al-Samekh respectively. Besides that, Paulinho and Al-Jouei were given a chance to showcase their mettle at the expense of two overseas superstars, Ever Banega and Luciano Vietto.
Al-Shabab was the dominant team by a country mile and they took only three minutes to establish this when Nawaf Al Abid went for glory and narrowly missed the target. Against the run of play, the Islanders’ winger Lallianzuala Chhante had a crack at the goal three minutes later but he could not find the target either.
Buckingham’s men had yet another chance of drawing first blood in the 15th minute when Fernandes went for a shot from outside the box, but he was denied by the Al-Shabab custodian Fawaz Al-Qarni. Apuia Ralte too had a crack just seconds later but there was no change in the outcome, with the Saudi Arabian goalkeeper coming to his team’s rescue. Three minutes later, Bipin Singh tried a long-ranger but his shot was too high.
All of these missed opportunities came back to haunt Mumbai City as after 15 minutes, it was all about the White Lions’ dominance. The first goal came in the 19th minute when Al Abid found Bahebri with a pass and the midfielder found the back of the net with his left-footed effort.
Bahebri then tried playing the part of a provider in the 26th minute when he slotted in a good pass for Al-Jouei, but the former Maritimo winger’s shot was well saved by Mumbai City custodian Phurba Lachenpa. The Sikkimese goalkeeper was called into action yet again in the 27th minute when Paulinho pulled the trigger, but he passed this test as well.
The Islanders had another opportunity in the 28th minute when Ahmed Jahouh went for a shot, but Al-Qarni remained unbeatable under the sticks for Al-Shabab. Not converting chances proved costly yet again for the Indian side as Sumudica’s men doubled their lead in the 36th minute. Carlos did well to beat Phurba with his shot but it seemed that it was off-target, but Mumbai’s Senegalese central defender Fall made a mess of his clearance attempt and ended up putting the ball into his own net.
Some might have thought Al-Shabab will take their feet off the pedal in the second half but contrary to that, they went all guns blazing and took only seven minutes to score their third goal. Al-Jouei’s shot from Al-Harbi’s pass left Phurba stranded and the Mumbai backline helpless.
The winger could have scored his second goal only five minutes later, but this time around, he was denied by the woodwork. The fourth goal eventually came in the 64th minute when just the first goal, Al Abid found Bahebri inside the box and the latter made no mistake in slotting the ball into the net.
Al-Shabab scored their fifth goal even before Mumbai City’s defenders could react – just a couple of minutes after the fourth goal. Bahebri was left unattended inside the box yet again and this time around, he was spotted by a Khalid Al Ghamdi pass. The 2019 AFC Champions League winner was not going to miss such a lucrative opportunity to take the match-ball home as he registered his hat-trick comfortably.
Having made a couple of assists, Al Abid tried his luck in the 73rd minute but he lacked the precision of Bahebri. However, Sumudica’s men eventually scored their sixth goal eight minutes later when a right-footed effort from Carlos defeated Phurba to find the back of the net. Mumbai came closest in the 86th minute when Chhangte rattled the crossbar with another long-ranger, but besides quality, it seemed that the Saudi outfit also had luck on their side. Two substitutes Vikram Pratap Singh and Brad Inman tried combining for what could have been the Islanders’ first goal in the 90th minute, but Al-Qarni was not in a mood to part with his clean sheet.
Following this defeat, Mumbai City will compete in a do-or-die fixture against Iraq’s Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya on Tuesday. On the other hand, Al-Shabab has already qualified for the Round of 16 and will end their group stage campaign with a formality game against Al-Jazira on the same day.