Mumbai City FC suffered their third defeat of the campaign after a 4-2 loss against Bengaluru FC at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim. There were three braces with Adam Le Fondre, Cleiton Silva, and Sunil Chhetri scoring them. Albeit a spirited and dominating show by the Islanders, they fell short and missed the opportunity to go back on top of the table.
The Islanders got off to the worst possible start, conceding a goal inside the first 30 seconds as Cleiton slotted home from close range. There was an immediate response with Raynier getting behind the backline in a one-on-one situation but he failed to keep his low shot on target.
Despite having less of the ball, BFC were looking more dangerous. In the 14th minute, Chhetri tried his luck from distance but Amrinder Singh was equal to it and kept the scoreline at 1-0.
In the 20th minute, Ahmed Jahouh played a lovely aerial ball to find le Fondre’s perfect run in the box. Our no.9 controlled the ball on his chest before shooting with his left foot but he failed to get the desired connection. Just a minute later, Erik Paartalu let one fly from distance but Amrinder made a brilliant diving save to his left side.
The pressure paid off for BFC as they scored their second goal with Cleiton Silva heading home from Xisco Hernandez’s cross from a set-piece. The Islanders were on the back foot with 2 goals in just 22 minutes.
Sergio Lobera made a tactical switch in the 35th minute with Jackichand Singh replacing Rowllin Borges. The Islanders nearly pulled one back through Mourtada Fall who managed to test Gurpreet from inside the box but the BFC goalkeeper tipped his effort over.
Harmanjot Khabra was booked for bringing Bipin Singh as he went past him. At the stroke of half-time, our winger went into the referee’s book too after bringing Udanta Singh just outside the box. The Islanders went into the break with a two-goal deficit.
The Islanders came out with more energy for the second half. They started off better and had the first chance of the game with Vignesh’s cross finding Jackichand Singh at the far post, who couldn’t keep his effort on target.
It took the boys just 5 minutes in the second half to score their first goal of the night. Cy Goddard’s low cross from the right flank was met by Adam le Fondre’s smart run that was followed by a smarter finish past Gurpreet in goal.
At the other end, Sunil Chhetri was booked for simulation in the 53rd minute. With the momentum on the Islanders’ side, they came close to making it 2-2. Mourtada Fall made a good connection with his header but was denied by another Gurpreet save.
The joy was short-lived for the Islanders as Sunil Chhetri restored the 2-goal advantage for the away side after Gurpreet’s long ball found Chhetri and he put the ball past an on-rushing Amrinder.
The game was running in full flow and Jackichand Singh was the next to test Gurpreet but he was kept out from a tight angle. There were changes for both sides with Ashique Kuruniyan making a comeback from injury as he replaced Xisco. For the Islanders, Mehtab Singh and Bart Ogbeche came on for Hernan Santana and Bipin Singh.
Cleiton Silva came close to scoring the first hat-trick of the season but he was denied by a fingertip save from Amrinder. In the 70th minute, Fall once again made a good connection with a header but it was straight at Gurpreet.
A couple of minutes later, Adam le Fondre scored his second goal of the night with a looping header to beat Gurpreet who was left in no man’s land. Once again, Cy Goddard’s cross caused problems to the BFC defence.
With a little over 15 minutes to go, BFC were struggling to keep possession of the ball but the Islanders were missing the finishing touch to go level. There were a couple of yellow cards for BFC with Ashique and substitute Edmund going into the referee’s book.
In the 85th minute, Cy Goddard’s sublime pass found le Fondre as he beat his marker to go through on goal. He went for goal and looked like making it 3-3 but Gurpreet managed to make a save to divert it away for a corner. A minute later, Cy Goddard’s side-footed effort nearly found the bottom corner but his effort was just wide.
With the Islanders pushing more men ahead, they were caught out at the back as Sunil Chhetri wrapped up the game with his 2nd goal and made his 200th game special for BFC.
The Islanders had 64% possession and 20 attempts at goal but failed to get anything from the game. The result leaves MCFC in the 2nd spot with 34 points after 17 games, two points behind ATK Mohun Bagan.
Sergio Lobera will hope to get his side back to winning ways against Jamshedpur FC on 20th February with a spot in the AFC Champions League spot up for grabs.