ISL 2017: Mumbai City vs Bengaluru FC Match Preview

Both teams will be looking to bounce back from shock defeats from their last games in what will be a closely fought encounter at the Mumbai Football Arena. Mumbai can go third with a win whereas Bengaluru can go back to the top of the table if they come away with three points, a draw does neither much good. Let’s see what’s on the menu for tonight…

Last time out…

Alexandre Guimares’ Mumbai came off the pitch last time out wondering what might’ve been as a controversial goal from Iain Hume made all the difference as the credentials of the officials was questioned once more. Mumbai had the best of the opening exchanges as Balwant headed just wide and that coupled with a few long range efforts meant the opening twenty minutes or so was all about the home side. That was all about to change not too long after, after a quick free-kick from Courage Pekuson played in Hume who finished first time to put the Blasters one up, completely against the run of play. The ball was definitely moving when Pekuson took the free kick and Hume was probably offside, nevertheless, the James revolution was continuing. 0-1 to Kerala at halftime.

It was all about Mumbai in the second half as they were prevented by the goalkeeper, the woodwork, some awful finishing and the offside flag. This time the linesman remembered how to use the flag and actually remembered the offside rule which is always a bonus as he got this one right! Maybe pigs will fly one day after all. Hume had Kerala’s only real chance of the second half which was from a set piece, but that was well kept out and Kerala held on to come away from Mumbai victorious which took Kerala up to the dizzy heights of sixth, one place behind Mumbai.

Bengaluru made me look a bit stupid last time out as I had them as my house bet. If you asked me again, I’d still tell you to back Bengaluru because the majority of the time, they would beat Delhi. Just not this time, as it goes. A Chhangte-inspired Delhi Dynamos came away with a much needed three points as they dominated Delhi and actually took their chances which would have been a pleasant surprise for Miguel Portugal. It was Bengaluru who were the wasteful ones this time around as Braulio had a couple of golden opportunities to break the deadlock but that honour fell to Chhangte who nicked one past the keeper with less than twenty minutes left on the clock.

Chhangte deserved the goal as he was a thorn in Bengaluru’s side all game as he was only thwarted by some good goalkeeping and some questionable finishing. Despite all of Bengaluru’s efforts, they couldn’t get back on level terms and things went from bad to worse in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time as Bose decided he wanted to sit out the next few games. He put in a needless tackle as the last man when the ball was going back to the keeper, gave away a penalty which was converted by Guyon Fernandez and the rest, as they say, is history. Delhi went moved to level on points with NorthEast, Bengaluru stayed second.

Previous encounter…

On the opening day of the season, these two sides faced each other in Bengaluru in what was their first ever meeting after Bengaluru’s transition from the I-League to the ISL. Despite the home side being a completely unknown entity in the division, Bengaluru were deemed favourites for their curtain raiser and as they do more often than not, the bookies got it right. Goals from Garcia and Chhetri, which both came in the second half, gave them a deserved victory as they restricted Mumbai to only one shot on goal all game. In comparison, Bengaluru had sixteen. Domination.

The game itself…

Mumbai will undoubtedly be seeking revenge in one form or another and will have extra hope after they saw Delhi down them which came as a great shock to everyone involved. Mumbai are strong at home and will go top of the ‘home table’ with a win against Bengaluru and Bengaluru can go top of the ‘away table’ with a win. Both have won three out of five so it really is anyone’s guess which way this will go.

Both managers have fully fit squads to choose from, Bose being the only absentee after his red card last time out. This game will all be about which side can perform better in the final third (aren’t they all?) as Santos x2 & Balwant pit their wits against Chhetri, Udanta & Miku, whichever trio creates the most chances will probably win. Easier said than done and when you consider the fact that both teams only concede on average, just over one a game, it’ll be interesting to see what comes out on top. Attack versus defence.

Ones to watch…

Balwant Singh – He has been nothing short of sensational so far this season as his goals have earned Mumbai four points already this season and he’s only played six games which sort of gives you an indication of how integral he is to the Mumbai side. Playing on the left side, he will be causing havoc from the off as he is just as likely to become provider than he is to get on the scoresheet himself.

Udanta Singh It’s difficult to pick anyone out of Bengaluru’s front line, especially when they have been as good as they have going forward, but I’m opting for Udanta as I think he’s the unsung one of the front three of him, Miku and Chhetri. Miku spearheads the attack, Chhetri is India’s sweetheart and that leaves Udanta who is the whippet on the right. His direct approach tends to leave many a left back on their arse and he has the end product to match.

One more thing…

All things considered, if I was a betting man and luckily I am, I’d be backing BTTS @ 8/11. This one is a house bet, I repeat house bet. Last house is going on. If you don’t see any more articles from me, it is almost definitely because I’ll be living on the streets. ‘Mon the goals!


About the Author

Jake Flock
Football and writing are my two biggest passions, so seems right to combine the pair, don't you think?