An 18th minute goal by Junior Obagbemiro ended Mumbai FC's unbeaten run as Sporting Clube de Goa registered a hard fought 1-0 victory in the ONGC I-League match played at the Nehru stadium on Friday.
Both teams started cautiously with play confined to midfield for a major part of the first half. Sporting, who made the first move in the 15th minute had a good chance to surge ahead but Nathaniel Amos's shot was blocked by goal-keeper Kalyan Chaubey. Defender Anas Edathodika cleared the ball off the rebound before Joseph could score.
Sporting kept on probing into the rival half and took the lead in the 18th minute. Defender Rovan Pereira from the left sent a long cross into the box that caught the rival defence napping. Obagbemiro controlled the ball and raced it into the box beating an onrushing Chaubey to his left with deft placement.
Obagbemiro went on to win the Man of the Match award for his goal-scoring effort.
Mumbai FC built few good moves from the flanks but their moves were nipped in the bud by the alert rival defenders.
With this win Sporting, who, notched their fourth victory in five matches remained at the top of the table with 12 points. Meanwhile, Mumbai FC, who suffered their first defeat, have nine points from four matches.
Mumbai FC's coach David Booth pressed three men in front after the change of ends by bringing in Abhishek Yadav and medio Noel Wilson in place of Assem K and Riston Rodrigues.
The move paid dividends as their attack looked more purposeful. Wilson made some lofted passes to keep the rival defense under pressure. Felix Abogye and Abel Hammond came off with a good move early in the second half but the shot was well collected by rival-keeper Felix D'souza.
Mumbai FC kept on pressing hard in search of the elusive goal but were denied by D'souza, who bought off a fine save by collecting a powerful shot from Abhishek Yadav.
Earlier, Yadav was unlucky when his header hit the post off a cross from Subhas Chakraborty.
Sporting's coach Vishwas Gaunkar said, "although the boys did not play to our expectations, the team struck to the plan. It's nice to come out as victors in the end."
On the other hand, Mumbai FC coach, David Booth was disappointed with the way his boys played in the first half.
"Although we gave a good account of ourselves in the second half, we failed to score," Booth said.
A yellow card was shown to Sporting's Micky Fernandes and Mumbai FC's Selwyn Fernandes by referee S Suresh.