ISL: Mumbai holds BFC
Bengaluru FC (BFC) couldn’t take advantage of a 10-man Mumbai City FC as it was held to a 1-1 draw at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday. The away side had to play nearly the entirety of the second half with a man less after midfielder Sehnaj Singh was sent off in the 51st minute for the second of his two reckless challenges.
But it was to the visitors credit that BFC never looked like the side with the numerical superiority. Substitute Xisco Hernandez came the closest in the 73rd minute but his left-footed shot was palmed away by the Mumbai goalie Amrinder Singh, who had an outstanding game. The resultant corner saw Eric Paartalu’s header hit the post but BFC didn’t threaten thereafter.
The result keeps BFC top of the table on 24 points from 10 games and lets Mumbai occupy the second spot on 21 points. But it was easy to gauge who went home happier.
It was BFC which had the better start to the game. Centre-back Albert Serran, with a penchant to step into the midfield, found an unmarked Sunil Chhetri in the sixth minute. But the skipper’s through ball to Chencho Gyeltshen wasn’t capitalised on. Serran sent another superb cross-field ball to the overlapping Rahul Bheke but was left ruing a bad first touch by the latter.
The opener in the 23rd minute by Udanta Singh was hence no surprise. It was a wonderfully worked goal with defender Juanan, Chhetri and Chencho exchanging quick passes to take the ball into the final third before Bheke’s cross was turned in by Udanta with his back against the goal.
Mumbai’s equaliser just eight minutes later came out of nowhere. Sehnaj, after collecting the ball deep inside his own half, passed to winger Nkufo Arnold, whose sauntering run BFC had no answer to. The electric forward Modou Sougou finished the move with fine header at the near post.
From there on, Mumbai grew into the match. The pace of Arnold and Sougou troubled BFC with the two full backs, Nishu Kumar and Bheke, out of position many a time. It didn’t also help that the two weren’t playing on their natural flanks.
It took an excellent save by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu from point-blank range to stop midfielder Rafael Bastos from doubling the lead, while at the other end Amrinder saved one from Chhetri low to his right. It was only fitting that the two custodians emerged with maximum praise.
The result: Bengaluru FC 1 (Udanta 23) drew with Mumbai City FC 1 (Sougou 31).