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ISL 2023-24: Kratky lauds Mumbai City FC's defence after sealing finals berth with win over FC Goa (WATCH)

Mumbai City FC set up a finals date with the Mohun Bagan Super Giant after defeating FC Goa by 2-0 in the second leg of their semi-final fixture of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 on Monday.

football ISL 2023-24: Kratky lauds Mumbai City FC's defence after sealing finals berth with win over FC Goa (WATCH) snt
First Published Apr 30, 2024, 10:24 AM IST

Petr Kratky, the head coach of Mumbai City FC, praised his team's defensive prowess following their victory over FC Goa in the Indian Super League semi-final second leg on. The match, held at the Mumbai Football Arena on Monday, saw Mumbai City FC emerge triumphant with a 2-0 win, earning them a place in the final against Mohun Bagan SG.

This victory marks Mumbai City FC's second appearance in the league finals, positioning them as the seventh team to achieve such a feat in the league's history.

Also read: ISL 2023-24: Mumbai City ease past FC Goa to set up blockbuster final against Mohun Bagan SG

The game kicked off evenly, with both teams struggling to carve out clear opportunities in the initial stages. Despite facing a possession deficit, Mumbai City FC gradually seized control as the match progressed into the second half.

Jorge Pereyra Diaz opened the scoring for the hosts in the 69th minute, capitalizing on a corner delivered by Lallianzuala Chhangte. Later, in the 83rd minute, Chhangte himself sealed the victory with a splendid finish, courtesy of Vikram Partap Singh's incisive forward pass.

While Mumbai City FC showcased their potency on the counterattack throughout the season, Kratky emphasized that their success was not solely reliant on this strategy but also on a variety of tactical approaches.

“We don’t play for counterattacks; it just came with the context of the game. In the first 30 minutes, we were losing lots of balls, which we (usually) win. We wanted to keep the ball in our control; we wanted to control the game,” Kratky said in the post-match press conference.

The Czech-Australian head coach lavished praise on the Gaurs, acknowledging their role in disrupting Mumbai City FC's game plan during the opening quarter.

"But credit goes to FC Goa, who didn’t let us (do that). That’s why we went a little bit deeper. But the boys pushed, absorbed the pressure, and slowly we got back in the game and tried to get a little bit (more) control, (which is why) it was a better second half,” he stated.

FC Goa could only muster a solitary shot on target against Mumbai City FC. Rahul Bheke led Kratky's defensive line admirably, consistently foiling the Gaurs' attacking endeavors and showcasing Mumbai's resilience and determination on numerous occasions.

Despite the pressure, the home side successfully maintained a clean sheet for the duration of the match, a notable achievement given FC Goa's imperative to secure a victory.

“I think it’s a credit to FC Goa that they came here to fight for scoring and winning the game. but credit to us, because we’re strong, we absorbed the pressure, our defence was very good, and everyone defended. So it was really good,” he further added.

Kratky recognized the early pressure exerted by Manolo Marquez's team during the opening half-hour but lauded his players' collective performance. They remained steadfast throughout the match, delivering a standout display in a crucial fixture.

“I think, in the first 20–30 minutes, FC Goa came very strong, and when they got a little bit tired, we got a little bit on track. But I saw better games in terms of football,” Kratky shared.

Speaking in context, an animated Kratky commented, “But again, everything is at stake when you play to keep going in the tournament. There are emotions, and everything is at stake. So tactically, I think both teams are very strong. They know what they are trying to do. I would say it depends on what angles you look at.”

“We won it 2-0. We absorbed the pressure tactically, we were well organized, and the boys worked hard. So, it depends on which angle you are looking for. But as I said, I saw more high-quality games before,” he continued.

Chhangte's goal against the Gaurs not only secured victory but also marked a personal milestone as he reached his tenth goal of the season, becoming only the third Indian player to achieve this feat. The Mizo forward has been instrumental for the Islanders, contributing to a total of 16 goals throughout the season. Remarkably, he has maintained a goal involvement in each of his last eight appearances, highlighting his consistent impact on the team's performance.

Praising his dynamic Indian forward, Kratky said, “He (Chhangte) is very important, as I said in the last game as well. He is a very good player.”

“He is bouncing back and performing well. We have to keep him up. He deserves everything that he has done, gets rewarded with goals, and is helping the team as much as he can. I am very happy for him. So he needs to keep going and working as hard as he does, and he is very important to us,” he added.

The Islanders are gearing up to face Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the final at the Salt Lake Stadium this Saturday, setting the stage for a rematch of their final league encounter. Their previous clash saw them suffer defeat against the Mariners, resulting in the loss of the League Shield. Now, Mumbai City FC is determined to reverse the outcome in their favor and seize victory in the ultimate showdown.

"It will be a fantastic game with more than six thousand people. We know the quality of Mohun Bagan SG and we also know what we have done wrong over there. We will try to improve and a little bit different team (in comparison to) when we’re there in the (last) game. We can be better than we played there, we just have to recover, regroup, and get excited about this (FC Goa) game but move on and focus on the last game of the season which will be very good," Kratky commented.

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