Mumbai City FC beat Chennaiyin FC 1-0 in Match no. 30 of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda on Wednesday.
The Marina Machans hadn't lost a single match prior to the game. Meanwhile, the Islanders had beaten every major side in the tournament so far except Hyderabad FC.
Both sides came into this ISL fixture with the intent of keeping their records intact. Mumbai City FC lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation while Chennaiyin FC shaped up in a 4-1-4-1. From the very first whistle of the game, the Islanders were in their usual state. They kept possession of the ball and circulated it to look for space in the Chennaiyin FC setup to capitalize on.
Bozidar Bandovic's side were compact centrally and at the back. However, one of the issues that kept the pressure on his side was the lack of creating a prospective move in transition. As soon as Chennaiyin FC's Lallianzuala Chhangte and Lukasz Gikiewicz tried to build an attack, they were crowded around by the Mumbai City FC defenders.
Chennaiyin FC skipper Anirudh Thapa partnered Ariel Borysiuk and Vladimir Koman in midfield and was effective in cultivating moves from the defensive third.
Both sides developed the majority of their attacks from their left flank. Jerry Lalrinzuala combined with Lallianzuala Chhangte to put in a few crosses. But they were well read by the Islanders' defensive unit and cleared away.
It was the same for Mumbai City FC. Bipin Singh and Mandar Rao Desai combined to create chances for the Islanders in the final third.
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Chennaiyin FC came close to breaking the deadlock but Mumbai City FC stole the deal
The start of the second half saw Chennaiyin FC come close to scoring. A cross from Jerry found Lukasz but Mumbai City FC custodian Mohammad Nawaz made himself big for the striker to score past.
A few moments later, Chhangte produces a similar effort but saw it get fisted away by the Islanders' custodian.
Chennaiyin FC started the second half better than the first. But they lacked the extra edge in the final third that could have sealed the deal for Bozidor Bandovic's side.
Mumbai City FC replaced Igor Angulo with Ygor Catatau and Raynier Fernandes with Vikram Singh to inject fresh life into the attacking department. Chennaiyin FC winger Lallianzuala Chhangte made way for Rahim Ali and Lukasz Gikiewicz for Mirlan Murzaev.
Both sides looked at the possibility of making the best of the opportunities presented to them. Mumbai City FC were finally able to make a breakthrough in the 86th minute. Rahul Bheke converted an Ahmed Jahouh corner past Vishal Kaith. The Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper's decision to come out went against him and cost his side heavily in the dying moments of the game.
The Marina Machans came close when midfielder Ariel Borysiuk shot from distance and missed the goal by a few inches. Vishal Kaith's performance throughout the game earned him the plaudits except for the one mistake that put the game to bed for the Islanders.
With this win, Mumbai City FC increased their lead at the top of the ISL table to four points.