Mumbai City FC claimed their maiden Indian Super League title with a 2-1 win over ATK-Mohun Bagan in the summit clash Saturday evening, at the Fatorda Stadium. The match was however sloppy in general, with basic errors predominating, while Amey Ranawade’s injury was also shocking for everyone.
Sloppy match all the way
The first half was nothing less than a comedy of errors, with both teams going haywire to take control of the ball possession, only to get snatched away in the next moment. ATK-Mohun Bagan’s rather unusual approach of taking a resort to a high-pressing football was out of the box. It did reap results initially, forcing the likes of Ahmed Jahouh to commit the rarest of mistakes, paving the way for David Willaims’ goal in the 18th minute. But, the fruits of the tweak lasted no more than 11 minutes
The same Ahmed Jahouh, coming up with a long-ball in an attempt to find Bipin Singh was the only effort a Mumbai City FC player needed to level the scores. Tiri, in an act to steer the ball away from Bipin’s reach, made a meal out of it and eventually rolled it back into the net. Even though the second half also had little improvement, it was again a couple of unpardonable mistakes that allowed Mumbai City FC to clinch the title with a late winner.
Antonio Lopez Habas’ plan fell in place, almost
For a team thriving on compact football at the back and occasional counter-attacks to keep the goals tally ticking, we were expecting a similar approach in the final. But, Antonio Lopez Habas surprised everyone by fielding Roy Krishna, David Williams and Marcelinho up-front to boost the attacking line. Not only that, the high-pressing football was something ATK-Mohun Bagan fans were not used to, with it creating problems for the Mumbai City FC players. Eventually, the opposition fell for the trap and committed a school-boy mistake to give Mariners the lead.
But, Mumbai City FC were also ready to combat with Hernan Santana and Mourtada Fall at the heart of the defence. On the other side of the spectrum, the style followed by Bagan in the summit clash allowed little time for the defenders to settle down. In turn, was indirectly responsible for the first goal they conceded, even though it was an own goal with Tiri failing to clear the ball with precision.
Arindam Bhattacharja caught day-dreaming to slip away the title
For a man – who has kept the most clean sheets in the group stages – along with the experience he carries, it was expected that Arindam Bhattacharja would act mature throughout the game. Just when the nerves started to take the better of the players and the teams were on course for extra-time, the ATK-Mohun Bagan custodian committed a blunder. Mourtada Fall’s long ball was not lethal to produce anything at first, with Sandesh Jhingan and Tiri covering Bartholomew Ogbeche with ease. But the problem began when Arindam charged out of the box to take things in his own hand.
A weak chest trap, followed by an attempt to regain it and a slip, period. The ball was in Ogbeche’s feet, with him waiting for support, while the defenders hurried back to guard the target. It was all over when Bipin Singh charged towards the ball and slotted the loose ball laid by Ogbeche in the far corner of the net to ignite fireworks in the Mumbai City FC camp. The footballer might have slipped away the ISL title, but he did win the Golden Glove award for the season.
Players unite in testing times
With the first filled with a comedy of errors, the eye-soothing football was missing from the contest. To make things worse, Mumbai City FC’s side-back Amey Ranawade collided with a Bagan defender and fell down with a head injury on the ground unconscious. With no response from the footballer, everyone present at the Fatorda Stadium was in a state of shock as the injury looked critical. This prompted other players to stall the game for more than 10 minutes, proving why humanity is at the forefront, while rivalries can always take a backseat on certain occasions.
The prolonged delay forced the referee to blow the half-time whistle after Amey was taken to the hospital. Social media platforms were flooded with ‘get well -soon’ messages from all spheres, including several ISL teams and other players tracking the match on their screens. It was later announced that Amey Ranawade was in a stable condition but was still under supervision. Mumbai City FC’s title couldn’t have been more sweet, even though they were not near to their best last Saturday evening.