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ISL 2021 -- Mumbai City display peak form in emphatic 3-1 victory over Bengaluru FC

Marco Pezzaiuoli’s Bengaluru FC were left to rue missed chances as they went down 3-1 to defending champions Mumbai City FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium, in Bambolim, on Saturday. An Igor Angulo spot-kick gave Des Buckingham’s side an early lead, before Cleiton Silva dispatched a set-piece to make it 1-1 moments later. After Sunil Chhetri’s penalty was saved, strikes from Mourtada Fall and substitute Ygor Catatau on the other side of the half sealed the points for the Islanders, who climbed to the summit of the League at the expense of Pezzaiuoli’s Blues.  

Earlier, the Blues retained their backline from the clash against the Blasters while Jayesh Rane stepped into midfield ahead of Iman Basafa. In attack, Pezzaiuoli handed starts to Cleiton Silva and Prince Ibara, who found themselves on the team sheet for the first time together. In goal, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made his 100th appearance for the Blues in all competitions.

Bengaluru were almost off to a dream start when Silva sent a volley goalward less than 30 seconds on the clock. The Brazilian, who scored in the first minute when the two sides met last year, saw his effort come crashing back off the crossbar this time around. 

Bengaluru continued to push forward, but against the run of play, the Islanders were handed a chance for the opener when Alan Costa was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area. Igor Angulo stepped up and sent Gurpreet Singh Sandhu the wrong way to give Des Buckingham’s side the lead.

The game continued to be cagey as Bengaluru looked to find their way back and the equaliser game just over 10 minutes later when Silva wrapped his foot around a free-kick to send the ball over the wall and past Mohamed Nawaz to make it 1-1.

Pezzaiuoli was forced into an early change when Ibara went down injured, and had to be replaced by Edmund Lalrindika. The youngster’s first meaningful action of the game won a penalty, when he pounced on a miscued clearance by Mandar Rao Dessai and drew the foul. However, Chhetri’s take was pushed away by Nawaz as the sides went down the tunnel with the scores level.

The visitors made a change at the break as Raynier Fernandes replaced Vikram Partap Singh and, less than ten minutes later, were in the lead again after Ahmed Jahouh’s free-kick was nodded over Gurpreet by Senegalese defender Mourtada Fall. Pezzaiuoli rang in two changes of his own as Sivasakthi Narayanan and Sarthak Golui replaced Ashique Kuruniyan and Jayesh Rane. 

Mumbai added to their lead five minutes from time with substitute Ygor Catatau saw the ball fall kindly to him after Angulo’s header came off the post. The Brazilian made no mistake, scoring from a tight angle to make it 3-1. Bengaluru continued to push forward in their attempt to reduce the deficit, but it wasn’t to be as Buckingham’s side closed out the ninety and a little more to secure the points.

Bengaluru face Hyderabad FC in their next encounter, at the same venue, on December 8.

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