Bengaluru FC, a club that forged in the I-League and has been battle-hardened by three consecutive campaigns in AFC Cup, mercilessly put their opponents, Mumbai City FC to the sword with a classic display of effortless football that breathed life into the ISL 2017 season which saw a couple of dull 0-0 draws in the first two days.
For the unknown, this was Bengaluru FC’s debut match in the Indian Super League and they couldn’t have got off to a better start. In the four years of their existence, the club seemed to have achieved it all with two I-League trophies, two Federation Cups and then an appearance in the AFC Cup final. But on Sunday, they set foot on a new journey of the Indian Super League 2017-18 with a clinical 2-0 win over last year’s leaders Mumbai City FC in their opener.
Goals from Spanish winger Eduardo Garcia (67) followed by the skipper Sunil Chhetri (90+3) finding the net, sealed the victory for The Blues, however, with six shots on target throughout the game, they could have netted more. Moreover, while 440 passes were executed by the hosts, the Ranbir Kapoor co-owned Mumbai City FC managed just 272, which reflects a huge gap between both teams’ attacking prowess.
This difference might be the cause of Bengaluru FC retaining the core of their squad for ISL 2017 which has turned out to be a rather exceptional move by the club.
That said, having a lead of 1-0, the hosts sealed the win with a resounding goal from skipper Sunil Chhetri in injury time which again showed that Mumbai City FC, the best performing team of the last season, had some serious issues with their defense as well when they made a blunder in injury time.
Gurpreet Sandhu lobbed the ball up front for skipper Sunil Chhetri, however, Mumbai City defender Wadoo, head the ball back to his goalie but failed to connect with it. Amrinder Singh charged out to clear the ball from danger and both collided outside the box as the ball was let loose.
Sunil Chhetri, for the catalyst he is, captivated by the error and chipped the ball into the net with utmost elegance. But surprisingly, the skipper didn’t indulge in the goal celebration.
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There is a reason why Chhetri is widely considered as the best player to ever feature in the Indian football team and his late goal against Mumbai City FC definitely proved just how important the Delhi striker is for the squad but his refusal to celebrate was when his true touch of class was witnessed.
In the post-match presentation, Sunil Chhetri said, “I usually don’t celebrate. I’m just happy for the fans and they’re happy for me. We promise to perform like today!”
With the 2-0 win, Bengaluru FC now sits on top of the ISL 2017 tally, followed by Goa FC which recorded a 3-2 win over Chennaiyin FC earlier in the day.