Mumbai City FC overcome tough Bengaluru FC challenge to go top

Mumbai City FC moved to the top of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) table with a 3-1 victory over Bengaluru FC at the Athletic stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Saturday.

Igor Angulo (9’(P)) gave the Islanders the early lead but it was quickly wiped off by Cleiton Silva (20’) who equalised for the Blues. Captain Sunil Chhetri then missed a penalty just before the interval. He was soon made to rue his slip-up as Mourtada Fall (54’) and Ygor Catatau (85’) scored for Mumbai City FC in the second half to help them grab all three minutes.

Bengaluru FC started the game well pressing high and causing Mumbai City FC problems in the build-up phase. They almost profited from it as Silva struck the woodwork in the 2nd minute after receiving the ball from a Prince Ibara header and turning quickly.

However, Mumbai City FC took the lead against the run of play as Alan Costa handled the ball inside the box allowing Angulo to step and convert from the spot in the eighth minute.

But Marco Pezzaiuoli’s side remained unfazed by the early setback and continued to press Mumbai high up the pitch. They were almost rewarded in the 14tn minute when Jayesh Rane got hold of the ball on the edge of the area and shot but saw his effort sail wide.

The Blues though managed to restore parity through some brilliance from Silva who curled a free-kick past Mohammad Nawaz in the 20th minute to make it 1-1.

Bengaluru FC then suffered a blow when Ibara had to be substituted due to injury on the half-hour mark.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was called into action one minute later when he prevented Silva from scoring an own goal from a Ahmed Jahouh free-kick which brushed the Brazilian on the way to goal but the BFC custodian pushed it away.

Bengaluru FC got a great chance to take the lead before the interval when Mandar Rao Dessai fouled Edmund Lalrindika inside the box. However, captain Chhetri who is still in search of the goal that would put him level with Ferran Corominas in the all-time leading goalscoring charts saw his penalty saved by Nawaz.

The penalty save meant the two teams went into the break locked at 1-1.

Des Buckingham brought on Raynier Fernandes in place of Vikram Singh at the break and the Islanders went ahead nine minutes after the restart when Fall headed home a Jahouh free-kick at the far post.

The game continued to be evenly contested but it was Mumbai City FC who seemed the more decisive team inside the box.

Substitute Raynier almost added a third in the 69th minute when he collected a loose ball and fired it goalwards only to see it saved by Sandhu who dived down to his right.

Nawaz was called into action at the other end in the 75th minute when he had to deny Rane whose low effort seemed destined for the target.

Ten minutes later substitute Catatau put the result beyond all doubt with a well-taken goal as Mumbai City FC added a third.

Bengaluru FC had a chance to cut the deficit when Pratik Chaudhari who got a free header from a Roshen Naorem corner fired his effort off target in stoppage time.

Mumbai City FC went top with the win and will look to continue their good run when they face Jamshedpur FC next on Thursday.

Benagluru FC though stay seventh in the standings and will take on Hyderabad FC on Wednesday.

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