Bengaluru overcome Mumbai City in six-goal thriller to keep slim semis hopes alive
Bengaluru FC kept their slim hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 alive after a 4-2 win against Mumbai City FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Monday. Cleiton Silva scored a brace for the Blues in the first half, while both Adam le Fondre and Sunil Chhetri netted twice each in the second half for Mumbai City and Bengaluru respectively.
- Cleiton Silva scored a first-half brace for Bengaluru FC.
- Both Adam le Fondre and Sunil Chhetri netted braces in the second period.
It took Bengaluru less than 30 seconds to go in front after Sunil Chhetri played a brilliant through ball to Udanta Singh on the right for the Indian winger to cross it towards the six-yard box where Cleiton was present to smash the ball into the net.
Chhetri nearly doubled Bengaluru’s lead in the 3rd minute when his shot from outside the box seemed to be heading into the goal but a crucial block by Hernan Santana saw the ball go behind for a corner. Rowllin Borges then played Raynier Fernandes in on goal three minutes later only for the latter to miss the target with his shot.
Chhetri had another go at goal after Mumbai City conceded possession in their own half in the 15th minute. His effort though was saved by Amrinder Singh on this occasion as the Islanders looked susceptible at the back.
Mumbai City then had a chance to level the score in the 20th minute when a long ball from deep by Ahmed Jahouh was well controlled by le Fondre before the Englishman put his attempt wide of the target. Bengaluru responded by going up the other end and forcing Amrinder into making a superb save to deny Erik Paartalu, who decided to try his luck from range with his left-foot.
However, Amrinder was beaten again in the 22nd minute courtesy a quality freekick into the box from the right by XIsco Hernandez that Cleiton managed to get a glancing header on before anyone else to guide it beyond the Mumbai City custodian at his near post.
Mourtada Fall looked to make his presence felt for Mumbai City during an offensive set-piece in the 37th minute. He was the quickest to react and get to a loose ball from the freekick into the box before firing a shot at goal that Gurpreet Singh Sandhu dealt with to ensure the Blues had a 2-0 lead at the break.
The Islanders halved the deficit five minutes into the second period after le Fondre did brilliantly to get ahead of his man in the box and slot a Cy Goddard ball from the right across the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Fall then tested Gurpreet with a header from the edge of the box four minutes later and the Bengaluru custodian was equal to the task on this occasion. The Islanders’ momentum though was halted in the 57th minute when Chhetri reestablished Bengaluru’s two-goal lead after latching on to a long pass forward by Gurpreet and smashing it past Amrinder, who was close to the edge of his box.
Undeterred, Mumbai City continued playing on the front foot and substitute Jackichand Singh tested Gurpreet with a powerful shot from inside the box in the 58th minute. However, Bengaluru possessed a threat whenever they went forward as well and would have scored their fourth goal in the 67th minute had Amrinder not been alert to tip a Cleiton freekick over the crossbar.
Fall looked to be one of the Islanders’ biggest threats from set-pieces and once again saw a header from a corner saved by Gurpreet in the 70th minute. Mumbai City though kept pushing and eventually scored their second of the night in the 72nd minute after a cross into the box by Goddard was met by the head of le Fondre, who looped the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.
Mumbai City had a golden chance to equalise in the 85th minute when Goddard again found le Fondre in the box with a delightful pass. The Englishman did well to keep his attempt on target but Gurpreet made an excellent save to keep his team’s lead intact. A minute later, Goddard himself nearly levelled the score with a shot from inside the box that inches wide of the target.
Bengaluru finally killed off the contest in injury time after Mumbai City had committed several players forward in search of a leveller and the Blues took advantage of them over committing by releasing Chhetri on the break and the Indian legend made no mistake with a clinical finish to secure a hard-fought victory.
Hero of the Match – Sunil Chhetri
Playing his 200th match for Bengaluru FC, Sunil Chhetri put in another stellar display for the Blues. The Indian legend played a role in the build-up for the game’s opener and then bagged a second half brace to cap off a fine performance and win.
Other Match Awards
Club Award – Bengaluru FC
DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Udanta Singh
Watch the Match Highlights here: