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ISL 2017-18: Guimaraes gets it wrong as Bengaluru top the standings

04:13 GMT 19/01/2018
Nikolas Fedor (Miku) Mumbai City FC Bengaluru FC ISL 4 2017/2018
The Costa Rican coach once again failed to get his line-up right after Gaikwad picked up an injury…

Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC’s match looked on even keel until the opening 30 minutes. Both teams moved forward in attack but there were no clear-cut opportunities.

Then around the 31st minute, Raju Gaikwad was substituted as he picked up a knock for the third time this season. Alexandre Guimaraes didn’t have options on the bench with regards to an Indian and in came Davinder Singh.

For those unaware, Davinder is playing his first season as a professional football player after being scouted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for their Under-23 team. The right-back was deployed as a left-back against possibly the best right winger in the country in Udanta Singh. A complete mismatch and from that point, you knew Bengaluru would find a way to open the Mumbai defence.

Also Guimaraes got his team completely wrong as he chose to leave a fit Leo Costa on the bench in favour of Everton Santos, who apart from one good cross in the first half, hardly created any sort of trouble for Rahul Bheke, who was filling in as a left-back.

You could see the difference the Brazilian Costa made after coming on as his creativity and physicality adds varied ammunition to the Mumbai attack.

Refereeing once again at the forefront at the Mumbai Football Arena for all the wrong reasons. Balwant Singh should have certainly seen a straight red for a petulant elbow on Harmanjot Khabra. Sunil Chhetri went down inside the box at the slightest or faintest contact and the visitors were awarded a non-existent penalty. Abinash Ruidas should have been given his marching orders for a two-footed lunge in what was possibly a career ending tackle.

Credit goes to Albert Roca and his team for doing the double over Mumbai. They started the second half on a strong note and deserved to take the lead given the manner in which they dominated the opening 25 minutes of the second session.

For Mumbai, whenever they concede the first goal – they have never managed to mount a come-back this season. The only exception being the 1-1 draw in Kerala wherein they could only muster a point. This suggests that the team doesn’t have the character to put in a fight and seize points when things aren’t going well for them.

Seven more games for Guimaraes to ensure that his team can make the cut into the play-offs. Can they overcome this psychological issue and pose a successful challenge to qualify into the top four?