Match 18 Preview: Bengaluru FC face uphill task against confident Mumbai City FC
Bengaluru FC will be up against defending champions Mumbai City FC in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match on Sunday at the Athletic Stadium, in Bambolim, Goa.
After a bright start to the season, Bengaluru FC failed to keep up the momentum, as they slumped to a defeat and played out a draw in their matches against Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters FC respectively. On the other hand, Mumbai City FC have won two out of their three matches so far, which includes a thumping 5-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan.
The Blues have won two, drawn two and lost one out of their last five competitive matches. They did have a good run in the Durand Cup, having reached the semi-finals with a second string team, but were halted by a strong FC Goa unit. So far, Bengaluru FC has had a mixed season, having registered three possible results in as many matches played in the Hero ISL.
Mumbai City FC
The Islanders have won three, lost one and drawn the other in their last five competitive matches. After a fitting start to the new campaign, Mumbai City FC suffered a 1-3 loss to Hyderabad FC in the following match. However, they recovered from the setback in grand fashion by inflicting a 5-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan in the following game.
Head to Head
Mumbai City FC have played eight matches against Bengaluru FC in the history of the Hero ISL, with the Islanders ending up winning four of them. The Blues have won three, while the remaining match ended in a draw. However, Mumbai City FC have registered four wins in the last five head-to-head matches.
Bengaluru FC have struggled to get going this season. There is no questioning the approach and intent, but the slow build-ups and vulnerability on the counter has cost them dear. With the lion’s share of the possession in the last game, the Blues only fired three shots at the goal, which is poor by their standards. There’s a lot of scope for improvement, as they face a stiff competition in the next game.
Alan Costa has been rock solid defence, with Pratik Chaudhary as his deputy. Roshan Naorem’s efforts were visible, but he was ineffective on the overlaps. The main snag surfaces in the midfield, where Bruno Silva and Suresh Wangjam have not been able to enforce constructive moves, in spite of enjoying considerable amount of time with the ball. Iman Basafa was also in the same boat, who got his first start of the season against Kerala Blasters FC
Skipper Sunil Chhetri is yet to find his footing this season, while Udanta Singh has run hot and cold following a match-winning performance in the opening game. For the positives, Cleiton Silva has been their standout performer, with him responsible for most of the chances created by Bengaluru FC. Prince Ibara had a quiet evening, with him not fed enough balls to make an effect. Marco Pezzaiuoli’s boys need to work in the playmaking zone if they aspire for top honours this season. Leon Augustine will miss the upcoming match due to injury.
Mumbai City FC
Despite the unexpected loss to Hyderabad FC in their second match, the win over ATK Mohun Bagan proved why they are still one of the primary title contenders. Outclassing the Mariners by a margin of 5-1 has itself put out a statement, with the players fuelled with enough confidence for the upcoming matches. Young Vikram Partap Singh, on his first start for this side, scored a brace to hog the limelight in the previous game, while Bipin Singh, with a goal and an assist to his name, was also a talking point.
Mumbai City FC played like defending champions in the last game, having worked like a well-oiled machine in all departments. Mourtada Fall and Co had rectified their flaws and made sure there was only one shot on target in the entire game. The Senegalese centre-back was also on the scoresheet. Apuia and Ahmed Jahouh were in total command of the central midfield, with a passing accuracy of 91% and 86% respectively. Gabriel Cassio’s presence just added more flair to their attacks.
Goal-machine Igor Angulo added another one to his tally with a simple tap-in from Fall in the first half itself. Full backs Mandar Rao Desai and Amey Ranawade also teased the ATK Mohun Bagan defence a few times with the overlaps, which piled on more misery for their rivals. Overall, the team displayed an outstanding performance, with credit to Des Buckingham for keeping the team together after a hiccup midway. With Bengaluru FC not in the best of their touch, Mumbai City FC would fancy their chances in the upcoming game. All the players in the Mumbai City FC squad are fit fot selection.
The Brazilian has been the pick of the players for Bengaluru FC in the season, with him always busy around the box and always keeping the opposition defenders on their toes. However, after a dream start to the Hero ISL for him, where he scored a goal and provided an assist, the forward had relatively average games to follow with. But, with the quality he possesses, Silva can change the course of the game within seconds, which makes him such a lethal player going forward.
Hero of the Match in the season opener against NorthEast United FC, the speedy winger has been in the thick and thin for Bengaluru FC ever since making his debut, back in 2014. Singh was not able to produce his usual antics in the past game, but take nothing away from him. Known for ripping apart the defence with his fierce sprints, his services will be needed more than ever when the Blues face-off a strong Mumbai City FC in the upcoming match.
Mumbai City FC
Vikram Partap Singh
The youngster had already impressed with his display during the AFC Under-23 Asian Cup qualifiers, Singh was waiting for his opportunity in the Hero ISL. And, in the first ever start for the Islanders, the striker netted twice in the first half to help his team earn a much-needed win. Having won the Hero of the Match in the previous game and the form he’s enjoying recently, we are expecting Buckingham to give him another start in the upcoming match.
The Moroccan footballer is already a stalwart in the midfield and was one of the most influential players in Mumbai City FC’s title win last season. Jahouh has also started this season with a bang, having made significant contributions in the three matches played so far. The midfielder has stitched up 203 passes, at an average of roughly 68 passes per game, at an accuracy of almost 80%, along with a goal and two assists. Up against a team like Bengaluru which likes to keep the possession, Jahouh will play a key role in breaking their rhythm.
Bengaluru FC’s jinx: The Blues have won just one out of their last five matches against Mumbai City FC and have kept only one clean sheet in the eight head-to-head matches played against the Islanders.
Clean sheet: Bengaluru FC have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven matches.
First-half stat: Mumbai City have scored six out of their nine goals in the ongoing season in the first half, which accounts to 67% of the total tally.
Match timings and telecast details
Match: Bengaluru FC vs Mumbai City FC
Date: 4th December
Venue: Athletic Stadium, Bambolim
Kick-off time: 9.30 pm
Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 3, Hindi Commentary on Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 regional channels - Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu
Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.