Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham was disappointed to lose 0-1 and concede an advantage to Bengaluru FC going into the second leg of the semi-final in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The Islanders lost to a set-piece goal from Sunil Chhetri in the second half, when the Bengaluru FC forward headed home from a corner to hand the Blues a victory. The two sides meet again in Bengaluru on Sunday for a place in the final of the Hero ISL.

Momentum carried a huge advantage for the away side, while for Mumbai City FC, the head coach felt they were unable to convert their chances. The League champions have scored 54 goals, most in the league, but will look to be more clinical in the final third.

“I thought we were very good up until we conceded the set-piece goal, which is disappointing because we never wanted to chase the game. We came out and played well, keeping in mind that we have not played for a fair amount of time—16 days. We created chances but failed to hit the target. We need to do something better and different in the final third, be more solid while defending the set-pieces and corners,” the head coach Buckingham said in the official post-match press conference.

Buckingham's side had a rest of more than two weeks while the Blues came on the back of a nine-game winning streak, which proved to be a huge factor while playing such important knockout games.

“We have worked hard enough for 15 days and have practised games amongst ourselves. We took control of the game in the first half, but we had to convert the control and tempo into goals while creating chances. We tried to keep knocking on their door, but they had one opportunity and they did their job, which affected the result for us,” he stated.

Reflecting on the loss, the Englishman was confident of making their chances count ahead in the second leg, and wants the the players to take away positives from the game. 

“The goal changed the game, but it was pleasing to see that defensively we were solid and in shape. That was one of the positive outcomes of the evening, and the other is that we are only halfway through. The team that played against East Bengal FC is very different from what we played tonight, we have scored 54 goals this season, and we know there are goals in us. We only need one chance, and I believe we have another opportunity in the next 90 minutes, and we will try to do our best to plan and prepare to make sure we keep ourselves in top form,” Buckingham said.

Having conceded through a set-piece goal, the Islanders have conceded the most number of goals from set-pieces. Buckingham wants the team to work on that factor and come through in the second leg.  

“We do not want to concede goals at all in the second leg. It is disappointing, and we want to work on that factor (set-piece) and we will make sure to do well because it changes the outcome of the game. So, we will try and get better in that area to keep us in a strong position next time,” he concluded.