Mumbai Knights FC extended their winning streak in the IWL 2023 with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Mara Rukmani FC on Saturday. The match, held at the Shahibaug Police Ground, showcased contrasting fortunes for both teams following their previous encounters. Mumbai Knights FC secured a 1-0 win over Kahaani FC, while Mata Rukmani FC suffered a 2-0 defeat against Misaka United FC.
In a tactical adjustment, Mumbai Knights opted to switch from a 5-3-2 formation to a 4-3-3 setup. This alteration involved fielding three forwards, with Bhumika Mane joining forces with Priyanka and Karishma upfront. Sonali replaced Pranita at right back, while Ritu and Afreen formed the center-back pairing. Mansi, who had an outstanding performance in the previous match, maintained her position as the left-back.
Valenie was introduced in midfield, replacing Valencia, while Karen and Sushmita retained their spots. The breakthrough came early for Mumbai Knights, as Priyanka’s shot deflected off Namita Belsariya and was ultimately deemed an own goal, putting the team ahead 1-0 in just 12 minutes.
Carrying their one-goal advantage into halftime, the Knights displayed exceptional ball possession and came close to scoring more goals. Mata Rukmani FC showcased a resolute defensive performance, diligently clearing their lines as Mumbai Knights FC relentlessly pursued a second goal. Bhumika forged strong connections with Priyanka and Karishma but received a booking towards the end of the first half, leading to her substitution by Janhavi Shetty.
Karen Pias stood out in midfield, playing a crucial role in maintaining possession and asserting dominance as Mumbai Knights FC aimed to protect their slim lead. She made way for Mmehak Lobo during the game. Pranita entered the field in the 72nd minute, replacing Sushmita, as head coach Rutuja Gunwant sought to inject fresh energy into the midfield and secure control over the game.
With determined efforts, Mumbai Knights FC managed to preserve their 1-0 advantage until the final whistle, securing another three points and maintaining a perfect record of six points from two matches in the IWL campaign.
Up next, Mumbai Knights will face Misaka United FC, who are coming off a 1-0 loss against HOPS FC.