Mumbai City FC succumbed to their third defeat in the 2020-21 season of the Indian Super League (ISL) after Bengaluru FC beat them 4-2 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa. The Islanders could have reclaimed their position at the top of the table with a draw or a win, but came up short.
Mumbai City FC are still second in the table, with 34 points from 17 matches. Their final match against ATK Mohun Bagan is also the last match of the season. It could decide the eventual table-topper as well as India's representative in the 2022 AFC Champions League.
Cleiton Silva gave Bengaluru FC the lead within 25 seconds. The Brazilian doubled the lead in the 22nd minute after nodding the ball into the back of the net from a free-kick. This meant Mumbai City FC had to play catch-up throughout the match.
When asked if conceding a goal so early made things tougher for them, their head coach Sergio Lobera said:
"When we conceded a goal in the first 30 seconds against Bengaluru FC, their motivation increased and it made things difficult for us. Our reaction at the start of second half after conceding two goals was good. When we came back to the game and scored a goal, we conceded the third goal. It was very painful for us. We believed and continued working and scored one more goal. But in the last action of the game, when we were in an attacking position, this situation (conceding another goal) is possible to happen."
Mumbai City FC beat Bengaluru FC 3-1 in their previous encounter. Following the outcome, the Bengaluru FC management sacked head coach Carles Cuadrat. Under their interim coach Naushad Moosa, Bengaluru FC won only one match before their clash against Mumbai City FC.
"We know Bengaluru FC. They are not a weak team. They are a very strong team. Maybe they are not in a good position right now. This season is difficult for them. But, I told my players that Bengaluru FC come with very good players and you saw it. When you give them the opportunities to score goals, they manage the situation well," Lobera mentioned.
Mumbai City FC coach more concerned about missed chances
Mumbai City FC have conceded ten of their fifteen goals in their last four matches. However, Sergio Lobera is more concerned about the chances their teams have missed.
"I know we conceded four goals tonight. In the last game also we conceded a lot of goals. But the most important thing in football is balance. My concern is more about the chances we missed and not the goals we conceded. Because if we score all the chances we have, we will win all the games. We need to improve a lot of things in defense and attack to balance," Lobera further added.
Sergio Lobera made a substitution in the 35th minute by replacing Rowllin Borges with Jackichand Singh. Jackichand and Bipin Singh covered the wings for Mumbai City FC while Raynier Fernandes played as an attacking midfielder. Meanwhile, Cy Goddard partnered with Adam Le Fondre upfront to create opportunities.
"We conceded two goals and had to be more offensive. I thought maybe during the game, I had to change the formation to 4-1-3-2. If I needed this, I prefer Raynier (Fernandes) as an attacking midfielder and not (Rowllin) Borges. He is more defensive. This was the reason (to make the substitution). But, I am very happy with Borges. I don't have any problems with him," Lobera signed off.
Mumbai City FC next face Jamshedpur FC on the 20th of February at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco. Only two points separate the Islanders and ATK Mohun Bagan at the top. Mumbai City FC cannot afford to drop points further as it would widen their gap with the Mariners.Published 16 Feb 2021, 09:51 IST