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Thursday, 24 June 2021

India's Mumbai City finish top, book Asian Champions League spot

Reuters , Monday 1 Mar 2021
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Mumbai City, majority owned by the backers of English Premier League club Manchester City, booked a spot in next year's AFC Champions League with a win on Sunday in their final match of the Indian Super League's regular season.

The City Football Group, which is majority owned by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, picked up a 65% stake in Mumbai City in 2019, expanding their global stable of clubs to 10 across the world.

Coached by Spaniard Sergio Lobera, the Mumbai side needed to beat leaders ATK Mohun Bagan to climb above the Kolkata-based side by virtue of their superior head-to-head record.

First-half goals from Senegalese defender Mourtada Fall and Nigerian forward Bartholomew Ogbeche sealed a 2-0 win and gave Mumbai a confirmed spot in the group stage of the continent's top-tier club competition next season.

"I am very happy because the club and the City Football Group have made a big effort to give us all that we need to work (with)," Lobera said after picking up the League Winners Shield.

"It is a moment to enjoy but also to analyse the things that we have achieved this season. We have a big challenge. I know when I came here that it was a big and ambitious project. We have worked hard to achieve our target.

"It means a lot because playing in the AFC Champions League next season is amazing."

Mumbai finished level on 40 points with ATK Mohun Bagan but topped the 11-team league having defeated their big rivals twice during the regular season.

They will next meet FC Goa in a two-legged semi-final with ATK Mohun Bagan taking on NorthEast United FC in the other playoffs before the March 13 final of ISL.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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