AFC - Nassaji Mazandaran completed the double over Mumbai City FC after a 2-0 win in their Group D match in the AFC Champions League™ 2023/24 at Azadi Stadium on Tuesday.
The Islamic Republic of Iran side repeated their feat from their opening match in the group with Mohammadreza Azadi getting his name on the scoresheet in both wins.
The hosts wasted no time in taking the game to their opponents, with Mohammadreza Torabi heading wide and Esmaeil Babaei sending his shot across the mouth of goal from a narrow angle inside the first three minutes.
The first goal of the night came just before the quarter-hour mark when Amir Janmaleki sent a perfectly weighted long ball behind the Indian defence that was chased Azadi who carried it into the box and hammered into the back of the net from a tight angle for Nassaji’s opener.
Nassaji’s lead was extended in an extraordinary fashion in the 32nd minute when Mumbai City defender Halen Nongtdu looked to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa but could not locate him accurately and instead sent it into the back of his own net.
After the restart, Mumbai City looked to get back into the game and dominated play in the early proceedings of the second half. An extended passing spell saw the ball fed to Lallianzuala Chhangte down the left and he looked to find Gurkirat Singh with a low cross, but defender Amirhossein Samdaliri made a last-ditch interception to clear it away for a corner.
Defender Rahul Bheke, who remains the only Indian player to ever score an AFC Champions League goal, came closest to finding the back of the net for Mumbai City, climbing high to head a corner, but could not keep it below the crossbar.
The Iranian side were reduced to ten men when Janmaleki received a direct red card for a high-footed reckless challenge on Sanjeev Stalin midway through the second half.
The result means Mumbai City will continue their pursuit of a first point and a first goal in the campaign when they host Navbahor on the final matchday while Nassaji bow out from Riyadh where they take on Al Hilal SFC next.