Mumbai City wins the 2023-24 ISL Final with a 3-1 win against Mohun Bagan Super Giant

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Mumbai City lifted the ISL Cup for the second time in the club’s history

Mumbai City dominated the final of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season as they ran out 3-1 winners against Mohun Bagan Super Giant at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan with Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Bipin Singh, and Jakub Vojtus scoring for Petr Kratky’s men in the second half on Saturday as Jason Cummings was the lone goalscorer in the first half of the match.

While Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Antonio Lopez Habas fielded the same starting XI from the 2-0 win against Odisha, Mumbai City head coach Kratky made a forced change to the starting XI that took the field in the 2-0 win against Goa with Alberto Noguera replacing the suspended Yoell van Nieff in the Islanders’ midfield.

The first big chance of the match came in the 4th minute as Lallianzula Chhangte swung in a free-kick to find Tiri’s head but the central defender’s attempt went wide of the target. Apart from that, it turned out to be a pretty cagey affair for the first 15 minutes of the match with Mehab Singh firing his header above Vishal Kaith’s goal from a corner in the 15th minute.

Apuia, filling in for van Nieff in the No.6 role, was pivotal in stealing off the ball from the MBSG attackers in the first half hour of the match as the Mariners’ potential attacks were thwarted again and again by the central midfielder.

In the 28th minute, Hector Yuste appeared to handle the ball inside the penalty area but the referee, who was in a good position, decided not to award the penalty to Kratky’s men. In the next minute, Jorge Pereyra Diaz threaded a through ball food Chhangte but the Mizo winger failed to beat Kaith in the goal.

At the half-hour mark, Chhangte did rattle the crossbar from a free-kick as Kaith, who was swinging his arms in thin air, breathed a sigh of relief when the ball was cleared away successfully.

In the 39th minute, Pereyra Diaz found Vikram Partap Singh free on the left wing and the electric forward ran forward and delivered a cross for Chhangte who spun to beat his man before firing a shot which beat Kaith but bounced back off the woodwork to deny the Islanders a much-deserved first goal of the evening.

A couple of minutes later, the Mariners created their first chance of the evening with Anirudh Thapa finding Liston Colaco in a familiar position as the former Hyderabad forward cut in on his right foot which was saved well by Phurba Lachenpa’s legs.

In the 43rd minute, Colaco found Dimitrios Petratos unmarked and the Australian fired from a long distance as Lachenpa made a comfortable save but the rebound fell to Jason Cummings who chipped the ball over Lachenpa to give his side the lead in front of a vociferous Kolkata crowd.

Despite having 65% possession and nearly double the amount of passes at the interval, the Islanders went to the dressing room trailing 1-0 to the Mariners.

After the restart, Liston tried to dance his way into the Mumbai City penalty area but was denied as the ball fell to Subhasish Bose whose shot went a bit wide and his claims for a corner weren’t given any importance by the referee.

Jorge Pereyra Diaz scored in his last appearance for the Islanders

In the 53rd minute, Noguera finally joined the party as his precise lobbed through ball found Pereyra Diaz behind the MBSG defense and the Argentine striker slotted the ball past Kaith to equalize for the Sky Blues. Not only did Diaz mark his last appearance for the club with a goal, but he also helped the City Group club to become the second ISL team to reach the landmark of 300 goals in the league’s history.

In the 62nd minute, Noguera and Chhangte played a one-two pass before finding Rahul Bheke who fired wide from eight yards in a very uncharacteristic moment from the defender who is known for coming up with goals in clutch moments. A couple of minutes later, Vikram went down in the penalty area under no challenge from Yuste and was rightly booked by the referee for play-acting.

Noguera went down after stretching his calf muscle a bit too much and Joni Kauko took maximum advantage by stealing the ball and feeding Liston who was stopped in his tracks by Bheke. The Spaniard had to be replaced by Bipin as Kratky was forced to shift to a double pivot between Apuia and Jayesh Rane.

Habas also made a substitution as Sahal Abdul Samad replaced Thapa in an attacking change as the Mariners decided to up the ante for the last 20 minutes of normal time. Kauko was then fouled by Rane and the central midfielder was also shown a yellow card by the referee before another substitution was made as Diaz then went down in agony and the Argentine striker had to be replaced by Vojtus in the 71st minute.

After the drinks break, Vinit Rai came on to replace Rane who might have played his last game for the Islanders as he will be returning to his parent club, Bengaluru for the 2024-25 ISL season.

In the 80th minute, a free-kick won by Vikram was wasted but the Islanders made up for it as Bipin helped his side take the lead with another crucial ISL final goal. Vinit threaded the ball through MBSG’s defense to find Vikram who teed it up for Chhangte but the Mariners’ defenders blocked his shot. The rebound fell to Vojtus who found Bipin and the substitute came up with the good yet again after an initial miss-kick on the ball.

Kiyan Nassiri was introduced in place of Tangri in the 84th minute and it could have paid off a couple of minutes later as Manvir found Cummings unmarked inside the penalty box but the Australian striker sliced his shot wide off the goal.

After nine minutes were added to the clock, Sahal was shown a yellow card by the referee for a high boot on Vikram who bravely put his head despite seeing Sahal lift his boot to meet the ball and the creative midfielder was booked for the offense.

Vikram could have sealed the proceedings in the fifth minute of added time but he decided to pass the ball to Chhangte instead of going for the goal and the Islanders then made a meal of the chance as Kaith ended the move with a clean catch.

In the seventh minute of added time, Vojtus scored his first goal for Mumbai City as he fed the ball to Bipin whose shot was blocked by Anwar Ali but the Slovak forward released the trigger again and the ball deflected off Anwar before hitting the back of the net to seal a historic win for Kratky’s men.

The 2023-24 season was completely dominated by Kolkata clubs in Indian football starting with the Kolkata Derby in the Durand Cup final to East Bengal lifting the 2024 Kalinga Super Cup. The trend continued with Mohammedan Sporting clinching the I-League title and Mohun Bagan Super Giant winning their maiden ISL League Winners’ Shield. 

The Mariners could have completed a potential domestic treble but fell at the last hurdle to Mumbai City who lifted the ISL Cup for the second time in four years.