Margao (Goa): Bengaluru FC rode a first-half blitz to shock defending champions Mumbai City FC 3-0 in an Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match at the PJN Stadium here on Monday. The Islanders just couldn’t recover from the first-half blitz that Bengaluru unleashed.
Goals from Danish Farooq (8′) and Prince Ibara (23′, 45′) powered Bengaluru FC into a 3-0 half-time lead which they were able to preserve despite a marked improvement from Mumbai City FC in the second half.
The Islanders carved out the first opening of the match and should have taken the lead in the second minute when Cassio Gabriel had a chance to send his header from a cross into the net but he fired it straight at Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
The early miss proved to be a costly one as Bengaluru FC took charge of the match and opened the scoring through Farooq, who picked up the pieces after Mourtada Fall’s tackle on Cleiton Silva and fired it into the back of the net in the 8th minute.
Bengaluru FC’s pressing was causing all sorts of problems for Mumbai City FC and the Islanders were almost caught out as Mohamed Rakip’s back pass to Phurba Lachenpa in goal was a firm one. The young goalkeeper tried to clear it at full stretch but ended up conceding a corner in the 20th minute.
Three minutes later, Bengaluru FC doubled their lead as Ibara headed home a precise cross from Roshan Naorem from the right flank.
The Blues were right on top of the Islanders and the duo almost combined again to add a third goal for their side. Naorem’s shot after collecting a Lachenpa punch from a corner found Ibara who tried to deflect the shot goalwards but it flew wide in the 35th minute.
Lachenpa was called into action again two minutes from the interval as he kept out Silva from point-blank range with a stunning save. However, he was helpless in first-half stoppage time when Ibara sent a glancing header from a Naorem corner into the net to put the Blues 3-0 up at the break.
Des Buckingham rang in the changes at halftime as he brought on Raynier Fernandes, Igor Angulo, and Amey Ranawade for Vinit Rai, Ygor Catatau, and Vignesh Dakshinamurthy but it appeared to have made little difference as Bengaluru FC continued to dominate.
Mourtada Fall needed to block a Silva effort to prevent the Islanders from falling further behind three minutes from the restart.
Sunil Chhetri then came on for Ibara near the halfway mark as former champions Bengaluru looked to add fresh legs in the second half.
Mumbai City FC then created their first real chance of the second half when they set wing-back Ranawade through in space. He had the chance to shoot early but chose to cut it back to Brad Inman whose shot was vitally blocked in the 62nd minute.
Mumbai City FC continued to push but couldn’t make it work in the final third as the Blues held on for a massive victory.
The first-half blitz laced win lifted Bengaluru FC to seventh place, just three points behind fourth-placed Jamshedpur FC. Mumbai City FC remained second despite the defeat but their place in the top four is now vulnerable after their fourth straight match without a victory.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Islanders who face league leaders Kerala Blasters FC in their next match on Sunday while Bengaluru FC take on ATK Mohun Bagan in their next encounter a day earlier.