Mumbai City FC went down to 10 when Sehnaj Singh, who has built a reputation for making rash tackles, was sent-off in the 52nd minute for yet another blatant foul. However, that didn’t bring down the spirit of Jorge Costa’s side.
Bengaluru FC, on their home ground, struggled to find a way to beat a side who played with 10 players for almost 43 minutes. Except for one shot by skipper Sunil Chhetri which Amrinder Singh kept out and a brilliant effort by the Erik Paartalu which touched the crossbar, Mumbai were more or less comfortable. In fact they looked threatening each time the ball went to Rafael Bastos, Arnold Issoko and Modou Sougou.
The team-work put in Mumbai players only highlights the resilience built in them by Costa. The manner in which they could soak up the pressure by covering extra spaces in the absence of Sehnaj was commendable. Despite Bengaluru throwing the kitchen sink with Kean Lewis and Thongkhosiem Haokip also on the pitch, the score-line didn’t change as Mumbai picked a point.
In the first half, after the opening 15 minutes, it was Mumbai who created the better chances. One run by Issoko and there was flutter in the Bengaluru defence as Sougou beat the offside trap and found the back of the net. If it was not for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu coupled with Bastos’ wastefulness, Mumbai could have easily surged ahead with at least three goals to one in the first half.
As mentioned earlier, without Miku Bengaluru FC look a different side. Yes, they have churned out results and got points on board but the much-famed style or threat in the opposition box is no more the same. In fact, since his absence, Bengaluru have registered three wins out of five and each of those wins was by a margin of a single goal.
Against Delhi Dynamos in the first half, which was by far their worst performance this season, you could see the difference made in the absence of Miku, Dimas and Paartalu. Only when the burly Australian came on the field did Bengaluru manage to create some chances.
Bengaluru do need the trio of Miku, Dimas and Paartalu fit at all times for them to play their best brand of football, which is the best in the country given that they are the league leaders and the only unbeaten team.