I-League: Vineeth treble sinks Mumbai

Bengaluru FC dominated proceedings against Mumbai FC to record a 3-0 victory in the I-League at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, here on Wednesday. Crowd favourite C.K. Vineeth notched up a hat-trick, his first in BFC coulours.

C. K. Vineeth (in blue) occupying the Mumbai defenders...   -  K. Murali Kumar

Under coach Santosh Kashyap, Mumbai FC has built up a reputation of being a dangerous attacking side. There was scant evidence of this trait on Wednesday, as Bengaluru FC (BFC) dominated proceedings to record a 3-0 victory in the I-League at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, here on Wednesday. Crowd favourite C.K. Vineeth notched up a hat-trick, his first in BFC coulours.

Relying on sound possession play, BFC overwhelmed the opponents on its way to a third positive result in as many matches. The home players rarely gave the ball away, leaving Mumbai FC to play catch up all along. The visitor did not create chances, save for a couple of hopeful long-range efforts.

Vineeth got on the scoresheet at the stroke of half-time, when he latched on to a cross from Australian Cameron Watson. The wiry forward then added a second after the restart, aided by an accurate delivery from the impressive Harmanjot Khabra.

His third goal was, without doubt, the most impressive.

A chip down the middle from Khabra found Vineeth, who received the pass with his back to the goal. A delicate first touch turned his marker inside out, which created space for Vineeth to take aim.

The Kerala footballer then made good contact with his right foot, and found a tight angle to defeat the custodian, Laxmikant Kattimani, at the far-post. The 28-year-old could have netted an incredible fourth in the closing stages, but a weak left-footed shot was easily saved by Kattimani. BFC went to the top of the I-League standings, tied on nine points with Mohun Bagan, but marginally ahead on goal-difference. Mumbai FC, on the other hand, was relegated to a first defeat in three fixtures.

Kashyap was questioned about the lack of attacking intent from his unit. “We have to accept that we were up against the best Indian players and the best coach as well. If we had faced a team, which was say in fifth-place or lower, I would have told the boys to be more attacking. But against BFC, if we open up, they will kill us,” he replied.

Despite a stellar show, BFC coach Albert Roca was not a satisfied man. “We have a long way to go to realise the vision I have for the team. I feel that we should have shut Mumbai FC out of contention much earlier,” he said.