By Debayan Mukherjee,
AIFF Media Team
Royal Wahingdoh 2 (Jackichand Singh – 34th, 59th)
Mumbai FC 1 (Josimar da Silva 71st)
MARGAO: As if inspired by Sunil Chhetri’s match winning performance earlier in the day in the Hero Federation Cup opener, promising striker Jackichand Singh impressed one and all with his virtuoso display that helped Royal Wahingdoh upend Mumbai FC 2-1 in a Group A encounter here at the Nehru Stadium in Goa Sunday (December 28, 2014).
The Manipuri striker who was the cynosure of all eyes in last season’s 2nd Division League becoming the top scorer, bagged two goals either side of halftime to steer the Shillong side clear in their first Federation Cup outing. Josimar da Silva reduced the arrears in the 71st minute but it was too little too late.
It all started in the 34th minute Bekay Bawar’s left-wing cross found Jackichand unmarked in the area and the striker made no mistake from close tapping in with ease.
Earlier Khalid Jamil’s Mumbai FC could have taken the lead had their new signing Amoes not skewed his gilt-edged chance wide after being teed up beautifully by another new recruit Reisangmi Vashum.
Jackichand was on the prowl from the word go, causing the rival goalkeeper Nidhin Lal few problems.
Of note was his long-range effort which caught Lal off his line but the custodian recovered in time to palm away the effort. Soon after Mumbai FC’s Japanese recruit Taisuke Matsugae found the crosspiece but his effort ricocheted off the crosspiece and out from a well taken free kick.
Jamil made two attacking changes after ends were changed hoping for a reversal of fortunes but in between his two changes – Mohammed Rafi in place of Rohit Mirza and Sampath Kuttymani replacing Amoes – Jackichand Singh made space for himself to bring up his brace off a Bawar layoff.
Luck also seemed to be donning the Shillong’s side colours as Chika Wali’s header from close range came off the horizontal four minutes into the hour mark. But Josimar seemed determined to turn the tide. Collecting possession from Matsugae, the veteran Brazilian ran the ball into the box before letting loose a rasping right-footer that crashed into the net.
That was that though for the yellow strips as their counterparts sat back in the dying moments of the match to see off the tie.