The Islanders went down 3-0 to Bengaluru FC on Monday, 10th January, at the Fatorda. A Danish Farooq strike and a Prince Ibara brace in the first half gave the opposition the 3 points.
In line with Ahmed Jahouh’s suspension, coach Des Buckingham made four changes in the starting line-up – Mohamed Rakip for Amey Ranawade, Brad Inman for Raynier Fernandes, Vinit Rai for Ahmed Jahouh and Ygor Catatau for Igor Angulo.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru FC switched out Parag Srivas and Jayesh Rane for Pratik Chowdhary and Danish Farooq.
Mumbai City started the game strongly, getting a couple shots on target within the first two minutes. First it was Apuia’s lovely dink that set up Cassio for a header inside the box. Whereas, the second was Cassio setting up Bipin to shoot from the left half-space. However, both chances were saved by the ‘keeper.
Bengaluru FC came back with some of their own chances, even scoring in the 7th minute. Cleiton Silva received the ball in the middle, but captain Fall put in a great challenge to poke the ball away. Unfortunately, it fell straight to Danish Farooq who rifled it into the right corner, leaving the custodian no chance.
BFC’s second came only 15 minutes later – this time through Prince Ibara. A failed clearance gave way to Naorem Roshan on the left, who put in a looping cross for the forward to head in.
Two yellow cards were shown soon after, one to Rahul Bheke and one to Pratik Chowdhary. Both players were booked for poor challenges.
Phurba showed up with heroics in the 34th minute with a last-ditch save. Prince Ibara latched on to Roshan’s long range shot following a corner, but our ‘keeper did extremely well to turn it away from goal.
Three minutes later, goalmouth action ensued once more, but this time it was the men in sky blue. Apuia controlled a loose clearance, and fed Cassio in the final 3rd. The Brazilian tried to set up Inman, but the ball was nicked away at the very last second, resulting in a corner.
Some incredibly nervy minutes flew by, wherein BFC came close to scoring twice and two more players went into the book – Vinit Rai and Danish Farooq.
It was in the very last minute of the first half that BFC scored their third of the night. Yet again, it was Roshan’s cross, this time from a corner, and Ibara’s towering header that found the net.
Mumbai City came out in the second half having made three switches – Raynier in for Vinit Rai, Igor Angulo in for Ygor Catatau and Amey Ranawade in for Vignesh.
Bengaluru started the second half with good energy, but our backline was equal to it and ensured that shots don’t trouble our #1.
Both teams made changes at the hour mark – Gurkirat Singh took to the field for Bipin Singh, and Sunil Chhetri came on for Prince Ibara.
The Islanders seemed to get into rhythm right after this, when Brad Inman came close to scoring once again. The Aussie threaded in a beautiful through ball to Amey, who tried to returned the favor. Unfortunately, the shot from Inman was blocked and resulted in a corner
Coincidentally, it was another corner which brought us close to scoring. Apuia let loose a vicious shot after controlling a clearance. The ball zipped past the bodies, only to be denied by the post.
The flow went on, and this time it was Angulo and Cassio who combined twice over in the 68th minute. The duo produced a couple of good chances through some dummies and back-heel flicks but neither altered the scoreline.
In the 78th minute, Mandar Rao Dessai was brought on, in place of Mohamed Rakip.
There was another opportunity a couple minutes following the change. Cassio Gabriel wormed past the BFC defense, and was nearly through on goal if not for an unfortunate tumble in the 6 yard box.
The game had drama till the very end, as in the 89th minute both teams came close to scoring. At first it was Danish who tried to make the most of a misjudged clearance, pulling the trigger once again. Phurba though, was quick to react and ensured that the scoreline remains unchanged. Cut to a few moments later, and Angulo was on a run against Pratik, trying to turn the defender inside out. He did get the shot off, but once again, it was a corner.
With this result, we remain in 2nd place on the table. Next up, we clash with Kerala Blasters at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on the 16th of January in an away game.