Bengaluru FC crashed to its second defeat in three Indian Super League (ISL) matches, losing 1-3 to Mumbai City FC at the Bambolim stadium on Saturday.
After an even first half ended with Sunil Chhetri missing a penalty with the score locked at 1-1, the Des Buckingham side’s superior squad strength and overall quality proved the difference.
Mourtada Fall and Ygor Catatau scored in the second half to take Mumbai top of the table with nine points from four matches. Marco Pezzaiuoli’s side is languishing in seventh spot, with just four points from as many matches.
BFC was the early enforcer, pressing high up the pitch and preferring a mode of attack that used Prince Ibara as the target man, with Cleiton Silva and Sunil Chhetri playing off the tall striker.
The plan nearly worked within 30 seconds after the start, but Silva’s thunderous volley from just outside the penalty box went off the crossbar. Mumbai’s opener in the ninth minute was completely against the run of play, with Igor Angulo converting from the spot after centre-back Alan Costa handled the ball. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s decision to not come out and collect the ball proved costly.
Nawaz saved a penalty off Sunil Chhetri with the scores level at 1-1. Photo: Focus Sports/ISL – Focus Sports/ISL
It was not long before Silva and Ibara combined again, this time the Brazilian scoring a wonderful free-kick after a foul on Ibara. But the Congolese forward’s time would soon end, trudging off the pitch around the half-hour mark following a muscle pull.
His replacement, Edmund Lalrindika, earned a penalty on the stroke of half-time only for skipper Chhetri to uncharacteristically fluff the opportunity, his second such miss this season.
That seemed like the turning point, as eight minutes after the restart, Fall scored for Mumbai City with a towering header into the right corner. Creator Ahmed Jahouh, whom BFC had kept largely quiet in the first period, delivered a perfect ball from a free-kick which Fall met after rising above a bunch of defenders.
BFC, from there on, ran out of ideas and energy, launching balls up-field more in hope than in line with a plan. With very little game-changing quality on the bench, there wasn’t much the side could do.
Mumbai City, on the other hand, could call upon players of the calibre of Catatau and Rowllin Borges and it was Catatau who sealed the tie, firing in a low shot from the left past Sandhu.
The result: Bengaluru FC (Silva 20) lost to Mumbai City FC (Angulo 9, Fall 54, Catatau 85).