Spirited Mumbai hold BFC

Spirited Mumbai hold BFC

ON TARGET: BFC’s Udanta Singh heads home a cross from Rahul Bheke against Mumbai City FC. DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar

Bengaluru FC and Mumbai City FC settled for a 1-1 draw in an ill-tempered Indian Super League affair that saw Jorge Costa’s side reduced to 10 men after Sehnaj Singh was sent off here on Sunday. 

Udanta Singh opened the scoring at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium with a well-placed header in the 23rd minute only for Modou Sougou to give Mumbai a glimmer of hope with a goal better than his opponent’s in the 31st minute.   

Sehnaj was given his marching orders in the 51st minute after he was booked for the second time for a heavy challenge on BFC’s Spanish midfielder Dimas Delgado. The referee had already cautioned the Mumbai player in the first half for a rash challenge on Erik Paartalu.

Bengaluru stay atop the table with 24 points from 10 games while Mumbai, having played a game extra, move back to the second place with 21 points. 

With close to 13 thousand fans egging them on, the Blues began on a positive note and could have taken the lead in the sixth minute but winger Chencho Gyeltshen, back in the starting line-up following his match-winning performance against NorthEast United, failed to find the target after collecting a defence-splitting pass inside the box from skipper Sunil Chhetri.

In the 14th minute, BFC threatened again when Udanta found Harmanjot Khabra at the edge of the Mumbai box, but the midfielder, under pressure from a Mumbai defender, lost control.

The Blues got their much-deserved goal in the 23rd minute after Udanta outjumped Lucian Goian and directed Rahul Bheke’s cross from the left flank into the bottom right corner of the net, past the helpless Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh.

BFC’s lead didn’t last long as Mumbai struck back in the 31st minute. Defender Souvik Chakrabarti gave the ball to Arnold Issoko, who ran towards the BFC box before curling in an inviting cross to Sougou, who dived in low to head the ball into the net past Bengaluru goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh. Despite their dominance, BFC went into the break 1-1.

In the second period, the hosts picked up from where they left and after Sehnaj’s departure, it was a one-way traffic. 

In the 74th minute, Bheke fed the ball to Xisco Hernandez, who took a touch in the box before hammering it towards the goal but his effort was tipped away by Amrinder. From the resultant corner, Dimas found Paartalu, but the midfielder’s header bounced off the bar onto the roof of the net.

Minutes later, BFC won a freekick after Mumbai defender Paulo Machado brought down Dimas at the edge of the box. Chhetri stepped up but his shot was calmly collected by the Mumbai ‘keeper.