ISL 2019-20: Mumbai City FC break the Bengaluru FC code yet again

For the second season running, the Islanders have become the first team to defeat Bengaluru FC …

There’s something about Mumbai City FC and breaking Bengaluru FC’s unbeaten streaks in the Indian Super League (ISL). Last year, the Islanders put an end to the Blues’ 11-game unbeaten run with a 1-0 win at home. This season, they became the first team to beat the defending champions eight rounds into the tournament.

This is also the first time in a while that a team can boast of outplaying Bengaluru, despite Carles Cuadrat’s men failing to live up to the bar they set for themselves last season. Huge credit must go to Mumbai boss Jorge Costa for exploiting the hosts’ weakness on their right flank.

Bipin Singh found himself in space more often than the Blues would have wanted. Harmanjot Khabra struggled to keep up with the Manipuri midfielder and was moved to midfield in the second half with Rahul Bheke taking his place.

In fact, Ashique Kuruniyan and Nishu Kumar had a night to forget and struggled to cope with the pace and guile of Moudou Sougou. In fact, Ashique’s form has dipped alarmingly this season. Deployed as a left winger and a left-back at times, the youngster has struggled to make an impact. He loks a shadow of the player he was.

In fact, he should’ve been sent off in the first half for an elbow on Sarthak Golui.

Bengaluru’s attack lacks a bit of co-ordination. Sunil Chhetri was left to fend for himself more often than not. In fact, Chhetri was seen screaming instructions at his team mates often.

Carles Cuadrat admitted that the better side won and his team found it hard to cope with Mumbai’s counter-attack.

“Mumbai is a team which plays very good on counter-attacks. They took advantage of a mistake caused by us. After the 0-1 everything was difficult. We worked towards to get at least one point but it was not good enough,” he said.

Like the Bengaluru boss explained, Mumbai resorted to counter-attacks and created all sorts of problems to the hosts’ high line. Despite a poor performance to his standards, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made some great saves to prevent a humiliating defeat for his side.

Simply put, Mumbai choked Bengaluru’s defence to an extent that they just had to yield. It was not the best day at the office for Juanan Gonzalez and Albert Serran. It’s hardly surprising that the Blues’ first defeat of the season arrived at a time when the former, arguably their best player this season, was having a rare sub-par game.

Bengaluru have always prided themselves on having two brilliant centre-backs, great in the air. Interestingly, all of Mumbai’s goal arrived from crosses. This resulted from a poor organisation at the back from the hosts. Both Subhasish Bose and Diego Carlos were left unmarked and in acres of space ahead of their goals.

Full marks to Mumbai for displaying what definitely was the best performance by any team against the defending champions. Costa’s men deservedly won the game and could probably have done so by a bigger margin.

Jorge Costa probably is the best coach away from home right now, with Mumbai’s points bar one coming from away games.

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