The Islanders extended their undefeated run to eight matches after a spirited 3-1 win against the 2018-19 Hero Indian Super League Champions Bengaluru City FC. The win helped Mumbai City go back at the top of the points table, two points clear of the second-placed ATK Mohun Bagan with an equal number of matches. The only big disappointment for Sergio Lobera will be the sending off for Ahmed Jahouh as he misses the big clash against ATK Mohun Bagan.
Mumbai City FC went ahead with an unchanged starting XI that won 2-0 against Kerala Blasters FC. The hosts, on the other hand, fifth-placed Bengaluru City FC started with Dimas Delgado in place of the suspended Erik Paartulu.
The home side had an early opportunity with Deshorn Brown, who didn't make the most of it and instead hit it wide off the target. The joy of that little early domination didn't last long for Carles Cuadrat's side as the Islanders soon started a flurry of attacks.
Mumbai City FC almost got themselves in front in the eighth minute after a peach of a pass aimed towards Bipin Singh and Adam Le Fondre was tucked away by Gurpreet with the finest of the touches for a corner kick. Bipin's corner kick found Santana's header who then headed the ball to the towering Mourtada Fall in front of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. There was absolutely nothing the goalkeeper could do as Fall's header put the Islanders ahead 1-0.
The Islanders doubled their lead in the fifteenth minute after an exquisite volleyed finish from Bipin off Mandar's beautiful cross from the left flank. Mandar had another go with a cross in the 24th minute but couldn't find his target man, Bipin Singh.
With a comfortable 2-goal lead, the Islanders were in complete control of the game and had their moments to increase the gap further. On the other hand, Bengaluru FC looked out of momentum and were not getting the decisive moves in the final third.
Ahmed Jahouh was the first player to be booked after a challenge on Kristian Opseth as he attempted to win the ball back after a poor clearance. From the resulting free-kick, Cleiton Silva did well to get his free-kick over the wall, but a brilliant save by our Captain, Amrinder Singh kept the two-goal lead intact for the Islanders.
Bengaluru City FC lacked intent for the most part of the first half. They could have easily trailed by another goal or two at half-time if not for those half-chances created as the Islanders kept themselves ahead 2-0 at half-time.
Carles Cuadrat made two changes at half-time. Udanta Singh replaced Deshorn Brown and Ajith Kumar came in for Pratik Chaudhari as Bengaluru kept more possession at the start of the second half.
The home side nearly capitalized on a miscommunication in the 52nd minute between Mourtada Fall and Amrinder Singh. Luckily for the Islanders, Fall managed to clear the ball in time with Opseth putting pressure on him.
Amey Ranawade went into the referee's book in the 58th minute for a challenge on Sunil Chhetri who also got the booking two minutes later for a challenge against the Islanders' defender. Rahul Bheke was taken off for Fran Gonzalez in the 58th minute with BFC pushing to get back into the game.
Sergio Lobera made four changes in a space of 10 minutes for the Islanders. Bartholomew Ogbeche and Vignesh Dakshinamurthy replaced Adam Le Fondre and Raynier Fernandes. Hugo Boumous and Vikram Pratap Singh too came in for Cy Goddard and Mandar Rao Dessai.
Bengaluru City FC got their first break in the 79th minute from a spot-kick. Mourtada Fall was penalised for a challenge on Cleiton Silva despite visibly winning the ball and the replays helped confirm the same. Sunil Chhetri helped his side with the conversion from the penalty spot and pulled one back for the hosts.
Defender Harmanjot Khabra was booked in the 81st minute before being replaced by striker Semboi Haokip. The away side nearly took the lead once again but were denied by the goal post. Jahouh’s free-kick was met by Bart Ogbeche but his smart header came off the post.
In the very next opportunity, the Islanders restored their 2-goal lead in the 85th minute with Bartholomew Ogbeche's header from a Cy Goddard corner kick. Bengaluru's custodian wasn't having the best of days in office as he fumbled the ball to see the ball finding the back of the net.
Mumbai City FC were reduced to 10-men after Ahmed Jahouh was shown the second yellow card of the match in the 86th minute. Bartholomew Ogbeche also got booked a minute later. But the Islanders had enough manpower to keep the score to 3-1 in the remaining minutes of the game.
The Islanders will next face ATK Mohun Bagan on Jan 11 in a top of the table clash.