A spectacular strike from Bipin Singh in the second half helped champion Mumbai City FC outlast SC East Bengal by a solitary goal in an ISL-8 fixture at Fatorda on Tuesday.
The win helped Mumbai City return to the play-off zone, nudging out Kerala Blasters (27 points) from the fourth spot. Mumbai City tallied 28 points from 17 matches while East Bengal continued at the bottom of the table with 10 points from 18 matches.
There were no goals on the score-line in the opening half but it was not a true reflection of the contest, which was an intense and end-to-end affair. East Bengal started on the offensive and created three positive openings in the first quarter. But the goal eluded the red-and-golds for the very reason that has derailed its campaign this season – poor finishing.
AS IT HAPPENED:
The Kolkata side seemed to miss the services of its specialist strikers in Croatia’s Antonio Perosevic and Brazilian Marcelo, both of whom were rested because of injuries. Mumbai City grew in the game midway through the action and created a few good chances. It managed to put in a few crosses and passes in the East Bengal box but the MCFC attackers were never able to translate them into goals.
The individual brilliance of Bipin Singh ultimately created the difference as Mumbai City walked away with the full quota of points. The nippy winger compensated for the ineffectiveness of his upfront colleague, Igor Angulo, with a nice solo effort in the 51st minute that lit up an otherwise dull outing for the defending champion.
Bipin cut in from the right flank and made a sharp run to the top of the East Bengal box and finished with a rasping left-footer that beat the East Bengal custodian Sankar Roy.
East Bengal could have drawn level in the 80th minute following a corner but for a nice reflexive save by the MCFC goalkeeper Mohamad Nawaz, who blocked a powerful bicycle kick from Raju Gaekwad.
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