Mumbai City FC became the first Indian Super League team to do the double over Bengaluru FC as they beat the defending champions 2-0 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday.
Goals from Modou Sougou and Amine Chermiti in either half settled the contest in the favour of the home side who moved within two points of the semi-final spot with the victory.
Bengaluru FC started the better of the two teams and looked threatening from set-pieces – a route through which they have scored majority of goals this season.
Sunil Chhetri came close to scoring the ninth minute when he controlled a loose ball inside the box following a set-piece but his looping shot sailed just wide of Mumbai’s goal.
Four minutes later, Mumbai City went in front against the run of play when Modou Sougou headed home a long diagonal ball from Rowllin Borges. However, he was given a big helping hand from Bengaluru goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu who came way off his line and failed to near the ball leaving him stranded as Sougou’s header rolled into the net.
The goal gave Mumbai the impetus who started to impose themselves on the game. Borges ran the show in midfield with his incredible distribution as the hosts gained control. Gurpreet was called into action on 35 minutes when Diego Carlos unleashed a powerful strike on goal from the left but the Indian goalkeeper was on hand to tip the ball over.
Mumbai thought they had doubled the lead two minutes before half time when they had the ball in the back of the net only to see the offside raised to rule the strike out.
Two minutes later Bengaluru suffered the same fate as Chhetri’s superb finish from an incredibly tight angle was ruled out for offside.
Mumbai went into the break with their lead intact after a half which they had clearly edged. Carles Cuadrat brought on Udanta Singh for Manuel Onwu at half time as Chhetri moved up front. He then made another attacking change nine minutes after the restart as Eugeneson Lyngdoh came on for Nishu Kumar.
However, Bengaluru FC gifted the hosts another goal a minute later when Harmanjot Khabra’s weak back header fell into an unmarked Chermiti’s path who finished past Gurpreet with ease to double Mumbai’s lead.
The second goal completely threw Cuadrat’s changed gameplan out of the window as Mumbai sat deep in a bid to protect the two-goal lead. Gurpreet kept Bengaluru in the contest with a fine save from Mohamed Larbi’s shot in the 57th minute.
Bengaluru sent on new signing Deshorn Brown to change the course of the game but it proved fruitless against a stubborn Mumbai defence that were on guard from the very first minute of the match.
Chhetri came close to reducing Mumbai’s lead in the 81st minute when his glancing header went just wide of the Mumbai goal.
The hosts resisted the late pressure from Bengaluru to close out an important win. For Bengaluru, the Jorge Costa hoodoo continued as they remain winless against the Portuguese after four matches, tasting defeat in three.