Bengaluru FC (BFC) dented Mumbai City FC’s chances of AFC Champions League qualification by beating it 4-2 at the Bambolim stadium in Goa on Monday.
Cleiton Silva provided BFC with a blistering start, scoring after 25 seconds and then again on 22 minutes, before Sunil Chhetri capped his 200th appearance by adding two goals of his own.
Adam le Fondre pulled things back for Mumbai twice, but couldn’t stop his side falling behind ATK Mohun Bagan by two points with three games left. BFC, on its part, kept alive its faint hopes of a playoff berth, rising up to sixth on 22 points.
Silva put BFC ahead by turning in an inch-perfect cross by Udanta Singh from the right. Mumbai had two chances to hit back, but fluffed both. Raynier Fernandes missed a one-on-one with BFC goalie Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, and le Fondre couldn’t convert despite a superb effort to chest down a long ball from Ahmed Jahouh.
BFC, not content with the lead, attacked with verve, with Chhetri and Erik Paartalu both having shots from distance saved by Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh. It didn’t take long for Naushad Moosa’s side to double the lead, with Silva heading in a fine set-piece delivery by Xisco Hernandez.
Mumbai, though, closed the first half strongly with defender Mourtada Fall forcing a terrific reflex save from Gurpreet. Sergio Lobera’s men struck immediately after the restart when le Fondre slotted home a low cross from Cy Goddard on the right.
But Chhetri re-established the two-goal lead, scoring through Amrinder’s legs after Mumbai midfielder Hernan Santana made a mess of a Gurpreet goal kick. Le Fondre’s excellent looping header with the back to his goal cut the deficit and the Englishman nearly drew his side level with five minutes of regulation time left, but for Gurpeet’s outstretched leg.
Chhetri, however, put the tie to bed deep into injury time, finishing off a counter-attack with a fine solo effort. Ashique Kuruniyan, who was sidelined for 11 matches for a fractured face, came on as a second half with a protactive mask on.
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