Two quick-fire Mumbai City FC goals in the first half by Mourtada Fall (9’) and Bipin Singh (15’) consigned Bengaluru FC to a third straight defeat in the Indian Super League at the Fatorda, on Tuesday, leaving Carles Cuadrat’s side with a lot of work to do in what is a fixture-packed January.
Skipper Sunil Chhetri tucked home a penalty (79th) to rekindle hopes of a Bengaluru comeback, but a Bartholomew Ogbeche header that Gurpreet Singh Sandhu should have done better to hold on to, rolled into the goal to put the contest beyond doubt.
With Erik Paartalu missing the game through suspension, Carles Cuadrat chose a midfield that had Cleiton Silva teaming up with usual suspects in Dimas Delgado and Suresh Wangjam. Meanwhile, strikers Kristian Opseth and Deshorn Brown started a game together for the first time this season with Chhetri in attack. In the opposite dugout, Sergio Lobera made no changes to his Mumbai City side that defeated Kerala Blasters a few days ago.
The Blues’ first chance of the game came as early as the 3rd minute. Cleiton Silva, playing in a deeper role in midfield, picked out Deshorn Brown with a deft lob but the Jamaican could only manage to shoot over the bar.
Instead, it was the visitors’ first corner in the 9th minute that broke the deadlock at the Fatorda. Bipin’s delivery was headed back into the middle by Hernan Santana and Mourtada Fall out-jumped Juanan to put his header past Gurpreet. The visitors then doubled their lead only six minutes later asMandar Rao Dessai’s cross was met by Bipin’s outstretched leg in the box to put Mumbai 2-0 up.
The Blues twice went close to pulling a goal back at the end of the first half. In the 39th minute, Opseth’s free kick grazed the top of Amrinder Singh’s goal. Only two minutes later, Cleiton’s free kick from a more central position forced Amrinder into a diving save. The skipper too, came close when he met Cleiton’s chip in the box, but Chhetri couldn’t generate any power on the attempt as Mumbai took their two-goal cushion to the dressing room at half-time.
Carles introduced Ajith Kumar and Udanta Singh at the break as the Blues looked to get back in the game. The final 45 minutes were a cagey affair as both teams looked to assert themselves on the game. Bengaluru were then awarded a penalty when Cleiton was stopped in his tracks by Fall, and Chhetri powered his take past Amrinder to halve the deficit on the night. Mumbai, however, restored their two-goal cushion only six minutes later as Ogbeche’s header from a Cy Goddard corner managed to sneak past Gurpreet’s grasp and bounce into the goal.
The visitors were reduced to ten men when Ahmed Jahouh picked up a second yellow card, but the Blues had little time to make the advantage count as Mumbai took home all three points from the Fatorda.
Bengaluru are back in action at the same venue on January 9 when they take on SC East Bengal.