Pune: Ghanaian striker Yusif Yakubu's hat-trick powered Mumbai FC to a comfortable 4-2 win over defending champions Churchill Brothers in an I-League Round 25 encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Sunday.
Yakubu (10th & 14th minute) scored two quick goals in the opening quarter to put Mumbai FC ahead before strikes on either side of the break from Asley Fernandes (36th) and Jaison Vales (59th) pulled the visitors level.
However, Yakubu (65th) and Shehnaj Singh (75th) scored twice midway through the second half to hand Mumbai FC all three points.
The win was Mumbai FC's fifth of the season and took their tally to 28 points as they consolidated their eighth place on the table.
Mumbai FC began the game brightly and took the lead in the 10th minute. An unmarked Yakubu headed in medio Shehnaj's perfect corner kick from the left to put the hosts ahead.
Four minutes later, Mumbai FC doubled the advantage. Once again on Shenaj's corner, the ball was headed out and fell for Alfred Jaryan. The Liberian volleyed a low shot into the box which Yakubu controlled and slotted home from the six yard box leaving the Churchill custodian helpless.
Midway through the half, Mumbai FC suffered a blow when winger Jayesh Rane landed awkwardly and had to be substituted by Nicholas Rodrigues. Mumbai FC kept on pressing at the other end but a defensive error around the half hour mark saw Churchill pull one back.
As the home defense failed to clear a ball inside the box, Asley's shot was deflected into his own goal by Mumbai FC defender Rahul Bheke. The first half ended 2-1 in favour of Mumbai FC.
The hosts began the second half in a similar fashion attacking from the word go but another defensive error cost them as Churchill pulled level just before the hour mark.
With the Mumbai FC defense failing to clear a routine cross in from the right, winger Jaison lurking around capitalised and blasted the stray ball into the roof of the net to level scores.