ISL 2020-21 league stage winners Mumbai City FC entered the playoffs final by beating FC Goa 6-5 in a rollercoaster penalty shootout in the semi-final second leg on Monday. The first leg had ended 2-2, and the aggregate score had remained tied after a goalless 90 minutes plus extra time in the second leg. It was the first time that an ISL playoff shootout went to sudden death.
Just like the first leg, Goa dominated possession and created better opportunities, getting 13 shots (6 on target) against Mumbai's 9 ( 1 on target), but lacked cutting edge in the final third. Amrinder Singh was a standout performer for Sergio Lobera's side during regulation and extra time, denying Goa the advantage with a series of brilliant saves.
Goa's first good chance arrived in the 27th minute, when Alberto Noguera beat his marker to make his way into the box before firing a shot that was parried away by Amrinder. The ball eventually fell in the path of Redeem Tlang whose first-time effort was blocked by Amey Ranawade.
Despite failing to test Goa keeper Dheeraj Singh, Mumbai missed an opportunity to open the scoring during the closing stages of the first half after winning a free-kick in a dangerous position. Ahmed Jahouh found Hugo Boumous outside the box, who blazed his effort over the crossbar.
Goa made one change at the break with Ishan Pandita coming on for Redeem Tlang and the substitution sparked energy into their attack in the second half. They created a big chance just minutes after the restart as Alexander Jesuraj received Saviour Gama's cutback and fired a shot that forced a fingertip save from Amrinder.
Amrinder soon made another clever save to deny Goa. After Adil Khan blocked Adam Le Fondre's effort, Goa launched a quick counter-attack and Jesuraj drilled a low cross inside the box for Pandita, whose diving header was kept out by the Mumbai keeper.
Goa kept pushing for a winner and could've ended the contest in injury time, had it not been for James Donachie missing a great opportunity. Edu Bedia aimed his free-kick at the far post but the defender failed to connect, missing the ball by inches.
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In extra time, Mumbai were lucky not to concede after an error. Pandita pounced on a poor backpass from Hernan Santana but Amrinder snuffed out the danger in time.
Both managers brought on substitute keepers for the shootout, Phurba Lachenpa replacing Amrinder and Naveen Kumar coming on for Dheeraj Singh after 120 minutes. Lachenpa pulled off three saves for Mumbai, denying Edu Bedia, Brandon Fernandes and James Donachie. Naveen Kumar was also outstanding, denying Hernan Santana, Hugo Boumous and Ahmed Jahouh.
With the shootout tied at 5-5, Glan Martins would miss Goa's fourth penalty, putting his side-footed effort wide. Rowllin Borges made no mistake from the spot, however, slotting it home to seal Mumbai's place in the final.
Mumbai will face the winner of the second leg between NorthEast United and ATK Mohun Bagan in the final on Saturday, March 13. The first leg between those two sides ended 1-1.