Mumbai City FC stretched their unbeaten run in the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) season to eight games on Sunday against Kerala Blasters to go into the winter break just three points short of league leaders Bengaluru FC.
The 6-1 result was just the icing on the cake for a spectacular turnaround Jorge Costa has engineered after the 5-0 drubbing they suffered in the fourth game of the season against FC Goa. They are unbeaten after that and it was easy to see why.
Defensively, they were solid with Lucian Goian and co. affording the Kerala forwards very little change. But the battle was won in midfield and attack.
Despite seeing less of the ball (41 per cent possession), Mumbai City always looked in control of the tie, right from the outset. They had a clear plan of attack - try and move forward quickly and use their pace on the wings effectively.
Kerala's defenders just failed to shut down the wings entirely. Moudou Sougou, who has been guilty of spurning several chances despite scoring vital goals this season, helped himself to four goals and three of them stemmed from moves originating from the wings.
Arnold Issoko has been one of the prime catalysts behind Mumbai City's upturn in form following the Goa defeat and he was at it again on Sunday at the Mumbai Football Arena. The likes of Lalruatthara had no handle on how to deal with Issoko on the right wing as he went about delivering some quality balls into the box.
Sougou himself was left to enjoy all sorts of space in the penalty box to get on the end of crosses and he duly helped himself twice in the first half. Sandesh Jhingan, Nemanja Lakic-Pesic and Anas Edathodika all have to share the blame as they looked out of sorts in defence.
Dheeraj Singh in goal did not inspire confidence too. It was his poor pass that led to Sougou's second goal.
It did not help that Mumbai scored a couple of screamers with Rafael Bastos and Matias Mirabaje as well. And a late error saw Sougou become the first player in ISL history to score four goals in a match.
However, attack-wise, Kerala were even worse. They looked totally clueless going forward despite seeing a lot of the ball. David James has to take the blame for the complete lack of attacking blueprint the team has.
Kerala Blasters' play-off chances are all but done. But if they are to break their 11 game winless streak, they need massive improvements in all areas of the pitch. It has been a sorry season for them.