Margao (Goa) [India], January 6 (ANI): After suffering three straight defeats for the first time ever in the Indian Super League (ISL), Bengaluru FC head coach Carles Cuadrat said that they are fighting for the play-offs spot as ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC are going to compete for the Champions League slot.
Mumbai City extended their unbeaten run in the ISL with a comfortable 3-1 win over Bengaluru FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Tuesday.
Goals from Mourtada Fall (9'), Bipin Singh (15') and Bartholomew Ogbeche (84') helped the Islanders remain unbeaten in their last eight games and climb to the top of the ISL table. Sunil Chhetri (79') scored late but it wasn't enough to rescue BFC, who have now suffered three straight league defeats for the first time ever.
"We have to improve in a lot of different aspects. We know that some of our players are not in their best shape. Some have muscle issues and some like Ashique. He was one of our fittest players at that moment of the season but that is not an excuse. With the squad, we have, honestly ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City are more consistent. As a club, we have to understand that our role is to try and play for the play-offs because ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai are going to fight for the Champions League slot," said Cuadrat after the match.
"We had our match plan. We were ready for that kind of a game but the real truth is they played very well. They knew where the spaces were and our plan was to try and be compact and go out for counter-attacks with fast players like (Deshor) Brown, Suresh (Wangjam), Cleiton (Silva) and Sunil (Chhetri). But we couldn't score the chances we created, it was not our day," he added.
Mumbai were brilliant in attack while their defence was good enough to keep BFC at bay. Keeper Amrinder Singh did well to keep Cleiton Silva's free-kick out of goal with a diving save as Mumbai maintained their two-goal lead at the break.
"They got the advantage in the first 15 minutes and then it became difficult for us. The guys put a lot of effort and had the attitude and we were close to giving them trouble at 2-1 but Mumbai City deserve the three points," Cuadrat said.
Mumbai City were unlucky to concede a penalty in the 78th minute when Silva was challenged in the box by Fall. Though the Senegalese appeared to have won the ball, the referee pointed towards the spot. Chhetri kept his composure and scored.
In the 84th minute, a howler from BFC keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu restored Mumbai's two-goal cushion. Ogbeche nodded in a Cy Goddard corner, which Gurpreet fumbled and let in. There was late drama as Jahouh received his marching orders for the second time this season, following a second booking in the match. (ANI)