The Islanders climbed to the top of the table with the win against Bengaluru FC.
Mumbai City FC defeated Bengaluru FC 1-0 courtesy of a goal by Paulo Machado. The win makes the Islanders the leaders of the table, replacing the losing side on the night. The game saw the home side take the lead early in the first half, leaving The Blues with the herculean task of breaking through the best defence of the league, which ultimately the they couldn’t.
While Mumbai relied on the counter-attack, Bengaluru tried to play the build-up game. The Islanders’ idea ultimately looked to be the better one, with them being more effective on the night. Bengaluru coach Carles Cuadrat credited Mumbai for having the right idea while entering the field. “All the teams come to the game with an idea. Credit to the Mumbai side for having the idea that worked.”
The game saw too many physical battles, with as many as five bookings. Cuadrat explained the physicality of Mumbai as the rationale behind putting the extra man in midfield for his team.
“It’s clear that Mumbai is a more physical team and that is why we put an extra man in the midfield. The players gave everything and I am very happy with their performance. The best thing for a team is their players giving their 100%.”
Watch: Mumbai City 1-0 Bengaluru FC highlights
Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Udanta Singh weren’t at their usual best. While the Indian custodian continued his erroneous displays between the sticks, Chhetri went missing throughout the game. Udanta ran out of steam very early in the game, forcing Cuadrat to bring Boithang Haokip on for him. “Yes, I think it wasn’t the best game for Sunil and Udanta. They have been training a lot. But, we can’t do much about that, it’s a part of the calendar.”
Despite the loss, The Blues’ coach was happy with the way his side fought. “We know that Mumbai is a team that defends well and they have many clean-sheets. I am happy that we were playing well and were not going crazy. We played on the wings and tried all we could,” he said.
For Jorge Costa, the top of the table position is still not a mission accomplished. He knows that there are five more important games to be played, before finally ending the round-robin stage of the league. “It’s true that we are at the top of the league and it’s important for us. But, we know that we have still 15 points to try and win. It was a very important game against one of the best sides.”
Asked if ending the unbeaten run of Bengaluru was the motivation behind the win the Mumbai head coach replied, “They didn’t have any loss before this and this was the only motivation. I was also a bit afraid. I saw the team and the players and they are doing a very good job. So, I am very happy for the result and the way we won the three points. In my mind, it is a fair result and we deserved the win.”
This was the second meeting between the two sides, with the first ending as a stalemate at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Costa reflected on the two games saying, “We played better away. It was a different game. We played most of the game with 10 players and we had too many chances to score. We did what we do in every game to win the three points.”
Sougou has been caught in an offside position 30-odd times this season. So, when questioned if it was a serious issue Costa answered, “This is not a problem. I tell them, if out of the ten times you make a run, nine times you are offside, I want you the one time to score. This is what I ask my players.”