Mumbai City FC marked their first Indian Super League match since the departure of Des Buckingham by defeating Bengaluru FC 4-0 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Friday.
Some shake-ups in the playing XI coupled with being firm with their playing style that has reaped them rich rewards lately resulted in the Islanders making a happy return to domestic action after over a month.
Abdenasser El Khayati was roped into the starting side and he made an impact straightaway, converting an accurate delivery by Greg Stewart, who reached 40 goal contributions in 47 ISL appearances, becoming the third fastest player to do so in ISL history.
Mumbai maintained their dominance with their fleet footed forwards earning fouls from promising positions in and around the box. Akash Mishra’s goal that doubled their lead was a consequence of one such set-piece.
Mishra, who admitted before the season that he wants to display the offensive side of his game in a greater capacity, was brave to take a shot from outside the box into the centre of the net in the 30th minute.
Javi Hernandez had a chance to draw scores level just before that, with his close range effort being pushed away by Phurba Lachenpa. Similarly, Sunil Chhetri had two great chances to get his 10th goal against Mumbai, but the visitors rode their luck to head into the half-time break holding their two-goal lead tight.
The Islanders then sealed the proceedings within a brief passage of play in the second half, when they earned two spot kicks in quick succession. Robin Yadav handled the ball in the box and Jorge Pereyra Diaz made no mistake from the spot.
That was followed by Lallianzuala Chhangte stepping up for penalty kick duties and doing the needful in the 61st minute, following a foul by 19-year-old Shivaldo Singh. Chhangte was undeterred from the spot.
Mumbai maintained their pressure thereafter but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu did not concede any more goals, but the scoreline will already pose several questions to Simon Grayson and team.