Mumbai City FC finished the league stage of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) as leaders and clinched the League Winners Shield after a 2-0 win against ATK Mohun Bagan at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Sunday. In what was the last game of the league stage, headed goals from Mourtada Fall and Bartholomew Ogbeche in the first half were enough for the Islanders to secure the win. With this victory, Mumbai City FC also secured a place in next year’s AFC Champions League group stage.
It was an action-packed start to the match as Roy Krishna forced the Mumbai City FC goalkeeper into a save in the 4th minute. The Fijian latched on to a ball inside the box after Fall had failed to clear the danger and tested Amrinder Singh with a powerful shot.
A wicked Adam le Fondre cross from the right across the face of the goal nearly unlocked ATK Mohun Bagan’s defence soon after. Mumbai City FC then took the lead from a set-piece in the 7th minute when an Ahmed Jahouh freekick was powered into the back of the net courtesy of a thumping header from Fall.
The Mariners tried to fight back immediately but Mumbai City FC looked to keep their shape and were comfortable at the back as ATK Mohun Bagan struggled to string together anything of substance going forward. The tough task of getting back into the match was made even more difficult for the Mariners when the Islanders doubled their lead in the 39th minute.
After Hernan Santana’s freekick ricocheted off the woodwork and took ATK Mohun Bagan’s goalkeeper out of the picture in his bid to make the save, Ogbeche found himself in the right place at the right time to nod home into an empty net.
A Bipin Singh shot from the left side of the box and an improvised effort by Santana could have further extended the Islanders’ lead before halftime but their attempts failed to hit the target as Mumbai City FC took a 2-0 lead heading into the break.
Mumbai City FC began the second half with confidence and panache, while ATK Mohun Bagan looked to fight their way back into the contest. The Islanders, in fact, seemed likelier to score another goal at the start of the half.
Ogbeche went close to making it 3-0 for Mumbai City FC in the 58th minute when his header off a cross from the left was wide of the target. The Mariners went close themselves moments later after Prabir Das’ effort from outside the box struck the frame of the goal.
David Williams then forced Amrinder into conceding a corner with a shot from range shortly after the hour mark. Carl McHugh was the next ATK Mohun Bagan player to have an attempt at goal in the 75th minute when he headed a freekick wide of the mark.
The closing stages of the contest saw the Mariners committing more men forward in a desperate bid for goals. However, Mumbai City FC stood firm and kept their discipline to restrict ATK Mohun Bagan to a few half chances as Sergio Lobera’s men held on for the win and clinched the League Winners Shield. Following the win, both teams got tied on 40 points but the Islanders sealed the top spot on the basis of accumulating more points against the Mariners during the league stage. They had won the first game too. Victory for the Islanders mean that they will now face FC Goa in the semi-finals, while ATK Mohun Bagan will take on NorthEast United FC in the other semis encounter.
ISL Media Release