Air Force Club v Mumbai City FC – Football Match Report – 11 April 2022

Mumbai City FC became the first Indian team to win an AFC Champions League match, after beating Air Force Club of Iraq 2-1 in a Group B encounter. Hammadi Ahmad opened the score in the 59th minute, before a penalty from Diego Mauricio (70th) and a header from Rahul Bheke in the 75th completed the turnaround as Mumbai collected the three points.

The result pushes Mumbai into second place in the group standings with leaders Al Shabab, who will face Al Jazeera later.

Much like their opener against Al Shabab, Mumbai City opted to start the game with a structure that allowed for a pass out from behind. However, the Air Force Club had clearly done their homework and pressed high, forcing their Indian opponents to make a few calamitous errors at the back in the opening ten minutes.

Ahmed Jahouh’s pass to goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa only found Alaa Abbas, although Lachenpa did well to divert the AFC striker’s shot away from the goal. Moments later, Jahouh gave the ball away again in his own half, with Rahul Bheke’s header returning towards Lachenpa also causing a bit of consternation.

Mumbai settled into the game but offered little future, although the Air Force also had similar issues. The Indian side fended off a great chance to take the lead on the half hour mark, with an unmarked Diego Mauricio heading towards Jahouh after Jahouh netted a fine cross from a small corner.

The Air Force had a few good chances as the half progressed, only for a poor finish to let them down. Vikram Pratap Singh also avoided a great chance to open the scoring two minutes before half-time, Ahmed Khalaf sliding to block his shot after Lallianzuala Chhangte found Singh in space in the box.

Brad Inman replaced Singh at half-time, along with Hammadi Ahmad and Ahmed Lafta for Air Force Club. Ahmad came straight into the action, drawing a superb save from Lachenpa a minute into the second half as the Mumbai keeper charged him into the box. Mumbai’s troubles continued as Jahouh was robbed by Dhurgham Ismail and he squared it for Shareef Abdulkadhim, only for the latter to shoot wide with the goal at his mercy.

There was no such profligacy from Ahmad on the hour mark, as he pounced on a missed kick in the box to loop it past Lachenpa, opening the scoring. The Iraqi side eased off after taking the lead, and the hero of their 2-1 win over Al Jazira, Ali Kadhim, gave Mumbai City a lifeline with a reckless sliding tackle on Diego Mauricio in the box .

The Brazilian took the resulting penalty, hitting it hard after sending the opposing keeper the wrong way. The match turned completely upside down in the 75th minute, as Bheke rose high to eye Jahouh’s corner in the bottom corner and put Mumbai ahead, becoming the first Indian to score in the League AFC champions.

Air Force continued, Ahmad closing in the 85th minute, heading a corner from Ismail just wide of the goal. Six minutes of added time was announced, but Mumbai kept their composure to claim a historic victory over the three-time AFC Cup winners.


MCFC 0-3 Al Shabab (10:45 p.m., April 8)

Air Force Club 1-2 MCFC (10:45 p.m., April 11)

Al Jazeera vs MCFC (10:45 p.m., April 14)

MCFC vs. Al Jazeera (10:45 p.m., April 18)

Al Shabab vs MCFC (1:45 a.m., April 23)

MCFC vs. Al Quwa Al Jawiya (01:45, April 27)

The live stream will be on Disney+ Hotstar/Star Sports.

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