The Islanders’ comprehensive record against ATK Mohun Bagan make them the worthy recipient of the double glory this season…
Mumbai City were the undisputed champions of the seventh season of the Indian Super League (ISL) which concluded last Saturday with the Islanders bagging the trophy by beating ATK Mohun Bagan in the final.
They also won the League Winners Shield by topping the league stage. They were tied on points with the Mariners (40) after playing 20 matches but were ahead on head-to-head record. They had won both the ties in the league stage.
In what was a comprehensive season for the Islanders, they managed to win 13 matches out of the 23 they played and lost four games. Out of those 13 wins, three were against their closest competitors ATK Mohun Bagan who otherwise matched them toe-to-toe this season.
Mumbai City and ATK Mohun Bagan were each other’s closest rivals this season and the two teams who stood out from the herd. But Sergio Lobera’s men got the job done when it mattered the most, i,e. in head-to-head ties.
In the first leg match, Mumbai City were the dominant side and managed to sneak in a narrow 1-0 win thanks to Bartholomew Ogbeche’s strike. While the game ended in a slender scoreline in reality, the Islanders were the better side in every department, from having better possession to creating more chances.
The second leg tie was the league stage’s final game where Mumbai had to win in order to bag the ISL League Winners Shield. ATK Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, needed just a point to seal the title in their favour.
But in such a high voltage clash it was Mumbai who stood out in the end and bagged the match 2-0 thanks to Mourtada Fall and Bartholomew Ogbeche’s strikes.
Then the two sides locked horns for the third and final time in the competition’s final. For the first time, the Mariners matched Lobera’s side in terms of performance and had even taken the lead but Mumbai eventually got the job, capitalising on two mistakes committed by Tiri and Arindam Bhattacharya.
While Tiri’s own goal brought Mumbai back into the game, Arindam Bhattacharya’s blunder in the 90th minute allowed Ogbeche to set up a ball for Bipin Singh from which the Indian winger scored the winner.
To win a title, teams often have to beat their nearest rivals and in ATK Mohun Bagan’s case, this failed to do so – not once but thrice and in the end, it proved costly. They may have qualified for the AFC Cup qualifiers but should have done better in order to clinch at least one title.