Last season's MVP Hugo Boumous finally hit top form, much to the delight of head coach Sergio Lobera as Mumbai City FC thumped SC East Bengal 3-0 in a 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) encounter at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old played a part in all three goals and his assist to Hernan Santana, who scored MCFC's third goal in the 58th minute, helped him overtake Odisha FC's Marcelinho as the player with most assists in ISL history.
ISL 2020-21 highlights: Le Fondre, Santana goals give Mumbai City 3-0 win vs SC East Bengal
After struggling to find the back of the net in their opening two games, the Islanders scored twice in the second half, the first of which was through a penalty earned by Boumous after being brought down by the Red and Gold brigade's goalkeeper Debjit Majumder.
Adam Le Fondre stepped up to convert the spot-kick to tie with Jamshedpur FC's Nerijus Valskis and FC Goa's Igor Angulo as the leading goal-scorer of the edition.
Earlier, East Bengal skipper Daniel Fox was substituted due to an injury after he was tackled by Le Fondre in the very first minute. The centre-back tried to continue before being replaced in the seventh minute.
Manager Robbie Fowler was then forced to change his formation and deployed midfielder Mohammed Rafique, who almost made an instant impact as he tested Mumbai goalkeeper Amrinder Singh with a shot from distance.
A minute later, MCFC opened the scoring with a delightful counter-attack, initiated by a long ball from Rowllin Borges which reached Boumous. The playmaker got past Surchandra Singh to get into the box and evaded Mohamed Irshad's sliding tackle to set up Le Fondre for a tap-in.
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Throughout the rest of the game, Lobera's side created the better chances as it overcame Fowler and company to move to the top of the standings.
Meanwhile, the match marked the 100th ISL appearance for Mumbai full-back Mandar Rao Dessai, who became the first player ever to reach this milestone. SCEB defender Narayan Das is next on the list with 92 outings.