Mumbai City FC rode on Rahul Bheke’s second-half goal to end Chennaiyin FC’s unbeaten run with a 1-0 win and consolidate their lead at the top of the table in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Wednesday.
Bheke scored the winner in the 86th minute, making the most of Chennaiyin goalkeeper Vishal Kaith’s error. After the win, Mumbai City has 15 points from six matches. Chennaiyin dropped to fifth with eight points from five matches.
Chennaiyin were off to a good start but in no time Mumbai were back to doing what they do best, keep the ball and dictate the tempo of the game. Cassio Gabriel looked as sharp as ever but the first chance fell to Igor Angulo after Vishal Kaith made a meal of an easy collection and Angulo was on hand to take a swipe but the seasoned striker found the outside of the post to Mumbai’s dismay.
Angulo had another chance to make it 1-0 for the Islanders in the 22nd minute when Ahmed Jahouh dinked a delectable ball for him but the 37-year old Spaniard shot wide. Chennaiyin struggled to get the ball out of their half as the league leaders bossed possession.
In the second period, it was more of the same as Mumbai tried to break the resolute Chennaiyin defence. In the 70th minute, Gabriel fired in a first-time shot but Vishal Kaith made a good reactive save, to be called into action again to pull off a double save.
Mumbai head coach Des Buckingham brought in Ygor Catatau for Angulo in search of that elusive goal, but that came from an unlikely source in the 86th minute. Bheke scored his first goal for the club, nodding in a Jahouh’s free kick past Kaith who tried hard but saw the ball cushion into the back of the net.
Ariel Borysiuk fired a rocket from around 40 yards in the 89th minute but the ball went just over the bar as Chennaiyin lost their first game of the season.