Our work on set-pieces paid dividends: Mumbai City FC’s Rahul Bheke on win over Chennaiyin FC
Mumbai City FC’s matchwinner Rahul Bheke expressed delight at his team collecting all three points in a game that they expected to be a tough one against a resolute Chennaiyin FC side at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Margao, Goa on Wednesday.
The Islanders won 1-0 thanks to Bheke’s headed goal in the 86th minute that broke Chennaiyin FC's stern resistance.
Bozidar Bandovic’s men defended with great discipline but were undone by a set-piece, a go-to weapon for Des Buckingham’s side this season.
“We have worked really hard before each and every game be it on defensive or offensive set-pieces. So thanks to our assistant coach Hiroshi Miyazawa who has really made us work on it. We have scored many goals in set-pieces before this match,” Bheke said in the post-match interview.
“We stuck to the gameplan till the last minute. That's the reason why we dominated the game and finally we got the goal through a set-piece,” he added.
His centre-back partner Mourtada Fall and often the man to score goals from set-plays for Mumbai City FC felt the team was taking advantage of having good headers of the ball.
“Today was a very tough game and set-piece was one of the ways for us to win it,” he said during the post-match interview.
“So when you have two good headers of the ball like Bheke and I then you can win a lot of headers on free-kicks. Everyone would focus on Fall and Rahul is there to score. I'm very happy,” he added.
Chennaiyin FC head coach Bandovic felt his team deserved a point from the game for his effort but urged his team to use the defeat as a tool to improve themselves.
“I think our defensive organisation was very good. We totally controlled Mumbai City FC in the defensive third and it’s not easy as they are a very good team. Maybe we could have done better with the ball but I felt we didn’t deserve to lose this match,” he said after the match.
The Islanders head coach Buckingham was relatively confident his side would break down their opponents if they stuck to the gameplan.
“We knew that teams are going to stop us using various means and we have to try different ways of breaking them down. So we talked at half-time about moving the ball bit quicker, utilising the wings and try and get them out of their back five and just being patient,” he said
“It was all about sticking to what we wanted to do and I was convinced that if we kept knocking on the door, we would get one before the end of the game,” he added.
The win ensured Mumbai City FC cemented their place at the top of the tabel with a four-point lead as Chennaiyin FC slipped to the fifth spot.