Bipin Singh's 90th-minute winner helped Mumbai City FC win their maiden Hero Indian Super League title, beating ATK Mohun Bagan 2-1 at the Fatorda Stadium. The win also meant the Islanders are only the second team to top the league stage and go on to win the title in the history of the Indian Super League after Bengaluru FC achieved this feat two years ago.
Both sides didn't make any changes to their starting eleven for the title match. As anticipated, it was an attacking start by both teams. Despite plenty of action on the pitch, neither team managed to get anything on target inside the first ten minutes.
While both sides looked to find their feet inside the first 10 minutes, it was a totally different game in the next 10 as the next few courses of plays had it all.
Bipin was wrongfully fouled inside the penalty box in the 11th minute and a rightful appeal for a penalty was denied. A minute later, Javier Hernandez hit the outside of the crossbar with a lovely freekick. Amrinder made a crucial save to deny Roy Krishna in the 16th minute. The Islanders' clearance found Javier who didn't do much with his attempt that went wide.
The Mariners' pressure finally paid in the 18th min with a goal from David Williams. It was clearly a rare lack of concentration at the defense by Mumbai that created an opening for ATKMB and they made the Islanders pay for it.
Mumbai City FC, in response, made some promising moves and didn't take long to find one back on the scoresheet.
Jahouh saw a huge space and put a long ball towards Bipin in the 29th minute. The ball instead found Tiri’s head and fortunately enough for the Islanders, it found the back of the net as Arindam couldn't do much about it. The own goal put Mumbai back in the game.
Mumbai followed up with another brilliant chance, this time, much to ATKMB's relief, Arindam made an excellent save from point-blank range to deny Hugo Boumous.
The rejuvenated islanders kept the pressure going in ATKMB's half. In the 36th min, Le Fondre found Bipin inside the box with a brilliant cross. The hat-trick hero against Odisha FC was just half-a-second late in finding the right connection. Bipin followed that with a cross from the right, this time cleared well by Arindam.
In a scary course of play, Amey Ranawade went down on the pitch after a scary collision at the touchline. He was given medical treatment and had to leave the game with Ambulance for further supervision. The game had to be halted for nearly 10 minutes.
The Islanders went on to dominate the first-half with more possession, and passing accuracy and looked like a side with a solid plan after the equaliser.
Mohamad Rakip replaced Amey Ranawade at the start of the second half. The first 10 minutes saw two yellow cards with Carl McHugh (49') and Pritam Kotal (55') from ATKMB at the receiving end.
The Islanders and the Mariners gave it all to take the lead in the next 15 minutes of play. Hugo Boumous came extremely close in the 58th minute but missed a sitter to put one at the back of the net for MCFC. Much to the luck of ATKMB, Mohamad Rakip's own goal was called off-side by the linesman in the 61st minute. In the end, it was the right decision by the linesman.
Sergio Lobera brought Bartholomew Ogbeche in for Adam Le Fondre in the 71st minute. In the next minute, Amrinder produced an important save to deny Javier Hernandez in the 72nd minute that kept Mumbai in the game.
The final headed towards the last 10 minutes and there were fewer attempts on target as compared to the first half. Both sides brought in more fresh legs as Cy Goddard (MCFC) and Jayesh Rane (ATKMB) replaced Hugo Boumous (84th min) and Lenny Rodrigues (85th min) respectively.
As the game was approaching stoppage time, Bipin Singh came with the winner. All Arindam's brilliance went for a toss with a howler of his own in the 90th minute. He failed to clear a long ball. Ogbeche rounded off Tiri and Bipin reacted the quickest and made no mistake to find the back of the net. The goal sealed the deal and won Mumbai City FC the Hero Indian Super League Season 7.
It was a season to remember for the Islanders. Head Coach Sergio Lobera achieved his targets. Mumbai City FC executed the plan to perfection to win the double. The side made some major changes at the start of the season. It wasn't the best of the pre-season and the loss in the opening match against NEUFC didn't help the cause either.
But Mumbai City FC came back stronger every time they hit a storm. Plenty of individual records went to the Islander. A total team performance when the chips were down helped Mumbai win the league.
They were the title-contenders at the start of the season and they didn't disappoint. This one was for all the fans who supported them from back home. This one for all the struggle the city has been going through during the pandemic.