Last night saw 5th place Mumbai City play host to 2nd place Bengaluru in what was a highly anticipated match. Many people expected this match to be a very even, yet entertaining match between two well-matched sides. However, this was not the case. Bengaluru simply outclassed Mumbai last night, in a game that ended up 3-1 to the visitors. Sunil Chhetri shone again for Bengaluru adding two goals to take his season total to seven goals.
The First Half
The start to the first half was pretty lackluster with both teams not really having any clear-cut chances. Both teams seemed a little cautious of their opponents. Bengaluru had the first real chance of the game when Udanta delivered the ball to Chhetri and his shot stung the hands of Mumbai goalkeeper Amrinder Singh. Mumbai came back with their own opportunity when Achille Emana struck the ball from the edge of the box, however, he fired over and the chance went begging.
Bengaluru came back with another chance when Udanta took the ball down brilliantly but overhit his cross towards Haokip, however, the chance didn’t end there because Haokip cut inside from the left and struck the ball towards goal but it was well met by Amrinder and the chance ended.
Mumbai had the best chance of the game when Balwant Singh found himself with a free header in the middle of the box, however, he headed it straight at the opposing keeper. How Singh didn’t score here is beyond me.
Balwant Singh found himself in the thick of the action once again, but not for the right reasons. After a light tussle with one of his opposing defenders, Balwant Singh channeled his inner MMA fighter, swung round and caught the defender with a nasty elbow in the neck. The defender went down and everyone waited for referee Santhosh Kumar to pull out the red card and see Singh walk off the pitch but this didn’t happen. In what can only be described as one of the worst decision I have seen in this league, and there have been a lot, Kumar decided against sending Singh off and he survived to fight another day.
Then there was further controversy and once again it involved Balwant Singh. After some lovely attacking football, Bengaluru found themselves on the edge of the box. The ball was played through to Chhetri and before he could take a touch or take a shot, Singh came from behind, Chhetri went down and the ref gave a penalty.
Now this decision alone has been troublesome for my co-writers and I as I believe it was a penalty, believing that Singh did push Chhetri in the back, however, the others believe that it was never a penalty. Anyway, the referee gave the penalty and with Singh being on a yellow card already everyone expected the referee to finally send Singh packing, but he didn’t and Singh got away once again.
Chhetri took the penalty and emphatically put the ball in the top left-hand corner. This will be one of the best penalties anyone will see for a while.
The first half ended just after the penalty and Bengaluru went in with a one-goal advantage.
The Second Half
Bengaluru came out for the second half knowing they could really take control of this game and they didn’t disappoint. Their first big chance fell to striker Miku when he found himself one-on-one with Amrinder Singh, everyone was waiting for the ball to nestle into the far corner but Miku opened his body up a little more than he should and he put the ball past the post and just wide of the mark. He really should have scored here but this miss didn’t throw Bengaluru off their game.
Bengaluru scored their second through first goal scorer Sunil Chhetri. Udanta once again causing chaos for the Mumbai defense as he pulled the ball back perfectly for Chhetri, who was stood in the middle of the box. Chhetri hit the shot first time and it went flying into the net, another brilliant finish that left Amrinder stranded.
Bengaluru scored a third through a goal that could have been easily stopped. The tackle to give Bengaluru the chance at goal was an idiotic decision to start with. The free kick was just outside the box and Miku stepped up to take it. Miku ‘tricked’ both the wall and Amrinder by hitting it low and hard into the left-hand side of the goal. Now, it was clever from Miku but Amrinder sold himself way too early. Miku hadn’t even struck the ball before Amrinder took at least one step to his left, leaving a massive gap for Miku to aim for. Nevertheless, Bengaluru went 3-0 up and that was game over for Mumbai.
Mumbai got a goal back on seventy-six minutes through substitute Leo Costa. Costa found himself unmarked in the box and he coolly slotted the ball through his opposing goalkeeper’s legs, making the scoreline 3-1 and that’s how the game finished.
The impressive win takes Bengaluru to the top of the table with twenty-one points, a point ahead of now 2nd place Chennaiyin, however, Chennaiyin now have a game in hand over Bengaluru. Mumbai sit 5th and are still only two points behind 3rd and 4th place, however, they both have at least one game over Mumbai so they really needed to beat Bengaluru to really keep their hopes alive for those play-off places.