Mumbai City’s unbeaten streak finally ends as Bengaluru wins 2-1
Mumbai City’s unbeaten run in the 2022-23 Indian Super League season finally ended in their 19th game, as they were handed a 1-2 defeat by Bengaluru. Sunil Chhetri and Javi Hernandez scored for the Blues, while the Islanders’ lone goal was scored by Mourtada Fall.
Though his team won the last match against Kerala Blasters 1-0, Bengaluru head coach Simon Grayson made three changes to his starting XI. Aleksandar Jovanovic, Suresh Singh Wangjam, and Chhetri were handed starts, with Alan Costa, Parag Shrivas, and Roy Krishna dropping to the bench.
On the other hand, Mumbai City head coach Des Buckingham made one change to the team that defeated Goa 5-3 to win the League Winners’ Shield. Fall was back at the heart of defense at the expense of Rostyn Griffiths.
Mumbai City had a good start to the game and had their first chance in only the 3rd minute. Ahmed Jahouh’s precise corner found Vignesh Dakshinamurthy unmarked, but the full-back could not keep his shot on target.
Bengaluru had their first attempt four minutes later, with Chhetri pulling the strings. The captain found Sivasakthi Narayanan with a pass, but the youngster could not capitalize on the opportunity. A minute later, Chhetri almost scored himself when a Javi Hernandez through ball found him one-on-one with the Islanders’ goal-keeper, Phurba Lachenpa. While the veteran’s shot went past Lachenpa, it was cleared by Mehtab Singh in the end.
Chhetri looked bright in his comeback game, as he had another attempt in the 15th minute. Dakshinamurthy’s clearance struck Sivasakthi before falling for the 38-year-old, but his shot was superbly saved by Lachenpa.
Mumbai City’s next chance came in the 25th minute with Jahouh playing a major role yet again. His free-kick found Fall inside the box, but the Senegalese centre-back could not get the desired power behind his header.
However, that chance helped the visitors gain some momentum as they had two chances soon afterwards. At first, Bipin Singh dragged a long-ranger wide, before Sandesh Jhingan prevented Jorge Pereyra Diaz from pulling the trigger.
The next chance came in the 43rd minute when Jahouh’s defense splitting pass found Bipin unmarked. The winger made a darting run down the left flank before launching a shot, which was saved by Bengaluru’s custodian, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
The last chance of the first half fell for the hosts just seconds before the lemon break. An excellent cross by Hernandez found Brazilian midfielder Bruno Ramires completely unmarked, but he could not keep his effort on target.
Bengaluru had the better start to the second half and almost scored in the 50th minute, as Hernandez proved to be instrumental again. Yet another accurate cross inside the box found Rohit Kumar unmarked this time, but his shot was off-target as well.
However, the goal eventually came in the 57th minute. No prizes for guessing, as once again, it was a Hernandez delivery that caught the Mumbai City defense napping. His corner found Chhetri inside the box, who found the back of the net with a powerful header.