Bartholomew Ogbeche's magnificent goal helped the Islanders win a top of the table clash against ATK Mohun Bagan FC at the Fatorda stadium. Sergio Lobera’s Mumbai City FC have now stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches in the 2020-21 Indian Super League, a joint club record, and have also opened up a 5-point lead at the halfway stage.
The ‘home’ side ATK Mohun Bagan made three changes as Antonio Lopez Habas brought in Glan Martins, Edu Garcia, and Javi Hernandez. For Mumbai City FC, Cy Goddard came in for the suspended Ahmed Jahouh. While Bartholomew Ogbeche was named in the starting eleven as he replaced Adam le Fondre.
The Islanders clearly had an upper hand over the home side ATK Mohun Bagan in the first half. With 66% possession, Mumbai City FC dominated the ball but just didn't manage to find the back of the net.
Hugo Boumous who was playing his 50th ISL match had the first shot on target after a brilliant pass from Mandar. But our no. 7 only managed to find Arindam Bhattacharja's gloves for a simple save.
Our boys kept the momentum going and got their best scoring opportunity in the 11th minute after some lovely one-touch football. Once again it was ATK Mohun Bagan’s Captain and former Islander who made the difference.
Mumbai City FC had more than twice the number of Passes (376) and touches (420) than the opposition and with 14 crosses and two shots on target, the Islander were the clear favourites to win this tie at the stroke of the first half.
It remained goalless at the break and that was the only disappointment for the Islanders after a very dominant display of football against a very strong ATK Mohun Bagan side. There were a few chances but Sergio Lobera’s side lacked the finishing touch.
ATK Mohun Bagan made two changes at the start of the second half. Prabir Das and Pronay Halder came in for Manvir Singh and Glan Martins. Pronay though received the first booking of the match after a foul on Ogbeche in the 47th minute. Mandar, for Mumbai City, went to the referee's book just a minute later.
The Mariners looked a different unit altogether in the second half as they showed more intent to win the ball. Their first shot on target came from a free-kick from just outside the box by Edu Garcia in the 51st minute. The dangerous-looking shot was comfortably cleared away by our captain Amrinder Singh in the end.
The aggression from both sides got the better of Mourtada Fall and Sandesh Jhingan as both defenders were at each others' face during a corner kick. The home side had the best opportunity to go up 1-0 in the 58th minute. Pronay Halder won the ball in midfield and played Edu Garcia through on the goal. His low shot went past Amrinder Singh only to find the woodwork. It was a huge let-off for the Islanders.
ATK Mohun Bagan’s Javi Hernandez became the second player from the home side to get booked in the 61st minute. The tempo was high from both teams, but it was the Islanders that got the first break in the 69th minute from a counter-attack. Hernan Santana carried the ball from defence and played it to Hugo Boumous at the centre. He went past at least a couple of ATK Mohun Bagan defenders and exchanged a nice little one-two with Santana before deftly back-heeling it to Ogbeche who struck it cleanly to find the back of the net for the fourth time in this campaign.
Sergio Lobera made the first change of the night by replacing the goal-scorer Bartholomew Ogbeche with the Englishman, Adam le Fondre. Our No. 9 didn't have to wait much for his first opportunity of the match, but a good save by Arindam denied Le Fondre and Mumbai City FC to double the lead.
Antonio Lopez in an attempt to break the visitor's resistance made another change in the 80th minute as he brought in Bradden Inman for Javi Hernandez. The Islanders kept their nerves when it mattered the most and another such instance came in the 83rd minute when Fall's vital block via a header denied the Mariners a chance for an equaliser.
Our head coach made the final two changes in the last five minutes of the regular time. Bipin Singh was replaced by Vignesh D in the 85th and Vikram Pratap Singh came in for Hugo Boumous in the 90th. Both sides gave it all and the further exchange of words during the extra minutes of play clearly explained what it meant for the two top sides to win this fixture.
Sergio Lobera's Mumbai City FC are now five points clear at the top of the 2020-21 Hero ISL points table and will next face Hyderabad FC on Saturday, January 16.