Iker Guarrotxena’s solitary goal inspired Mumbai City FC to a much-needed victory over East Bengal FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Tuesday.

The visitors enjoyed more possession throughout the entire match, creating numerous goalscoring opportunities, but failed to extend their lead as the Spanish forward’s right-footed strike ended up being the only difference between both sides.

Against East Bengal FC, Guarrotxena got his first start for the Islanders since joining the club in the winter transfer window. Notably, the Spaniard registered his first-ever goal for the defending League Shield winners in his second appearance in this campaign.

“It’s good to score my first goal for the club. There is a lot of work behind this goal. But, of course, the most important thing is the win,” a delighted Guarrotxena told indiansuperleague.com after scoring the game.

The Islanders suffered a 3-2 loss against Khalid Jamil’s Jamshedpur FC in their last match, despite taking a 2-0 lead before halftime. The forward acknowledged that it was necessary for them to display an instant reaction after losing to Jamshedpur FC on home turf. Speaking in context, he said, “After the loss against Jamshedpur FC, we had to step up, and we did it. We showed character, we showed personality, and we played well.”

“We need to take a step up in competitiveness. We played well, and the boys played so well. But we need to step up in that part of the play. I think we showed what we are able to play, how we are able to play, and what we are able to do,” he continued.

Joining Petr Kratky’s squad in January marked his second stint in India, as the 31-year-old previously played for FC Goa during the 2022–23 season. However, he felt that each season comes with different challenges.

"This season is different. I feel this season we have a very good team. The boys are working hard. Before I came here, they did a really good job. I think now there is a second part of the season where we have to take a step up in that part of the competition, and I think this is the way," he commented.

During his time with the Gaurs, Guarrotxena scored a hat-trick against East Bengal FC on January 26, 2023. With another goal against the Kolkata-based outfit last night, the Athletic Bilbao graduate now has four goals to his name in three appearances. Speaking in context, he opined, "Each game is different. I don't have favourite opponents."

"I think the most important thing is the win. The boys played so well; they worked hard, and I think it’s a well-deserved win for us," he signed off.