Mumbai City FC vs Chennaiyin FC: 5 talking points from the ISL match
The Islanders cemented their place on the top of the points table with another victory
Mumbai City FC extended their lead at the top of the Indian Super League table with an impressive 1-0 win over Chennaiyin FC on Wednesday. Rahul Bheke's headed goal was the difference-maker on the evening as Bozidar Bandovic's men tried their best to hold Des Buckingham's side. The outcome meant the end of the only undefeated record in this year's ISL as CFC conceded their first defeat of the season.
Vishal Kaith was particularly shaky and MCFC scored from a set-piece situation yet again. There were many more interesting talking points from the game which emerged as the match went on and after its conclusion. Here are the top five talking points from MCFC's win over CFC, which takes them to 15 points on top of the standings:
Vishal Kaith's indecisiveness
There was a moment in the first half where Vishal Kaith left his line and tried to collect a 50/50 ball inside his own area. Igor Angulo got to the ball first and his attempt managed to hit the right-sided post, almost handing MCFC an early lead. This incident brought into question Vishal Kaith's jitteriness which almost cost his team dearly. Later in the game, Kaith's poor decision led to the goal as he left his line and could not get near the ball, leading to Bheke slotting the ball in. There were many other situations where the goalkeeper could have done better with saves and ball at his feet. The custodian needs to command his area better and his lack of decisiveness could cost the Marina Machans dearly in forthcoming games.
Chennaiyin FC's lack of quality in the final third
Bozidar Bandovic's men were clear in their tactics, where the team was to sit back and absorb the pressure. The aim was to hit the Islanders on the counter, which means that the side was dependent on making most of their attacking opportunities. They did get a few scoring opportunities in the first half in particular where CFC could have taken the lead. For instance, Reagan Singh could not find the composure to deliver an easy cross with players waiting in the centre to direct the ball inside the net. In the early stages of the second half, Lukasz Gikiewicz found himself one-on-one with Mohd. Nawaz but could not find the back of the net. The head coach must work with the players to iron these issues out which otherwise could come back to bite in the latter stage of the season.
Brilliant total football from Mumbai City FC
Mumbai City FC has been playing exquisite football this season since the arrival of Des Buckingham. Their control over the possession is incredible and their overall quality is apparent. At the hour mark against Chennaiyin FC, MCFC had made 415 passes to only 182 passes from CFC. The average possession is more than 55% in favour of the reigning champions this year and today was a similar case. MCFC had 71% possession at the stroke of 80 minutes against CFC but struggled against their low-block.
Vikram Pratap Singh needs to start
Raynier Fernandes has secured a regular starting spot on the right flank. However, the MCFC forward play was more intense with Vikram Pratap on the pitch, who replaced the former in the 68th minute. The winger brings more quality than Fernandes going forward and pace that full-backs hate to defend against. Des Buckingham must give Vikram more game time to justify his talent. The 19-year-old had one key pass, two accurate crosses and did a lot of tracking back as well during his short stint on the pitch against CFC.
Mumbai City favourites to win the ISL shield
The reigning ISL shield and ISL trophy holders are firm favourites to defend their achievements this year. The 1-0 win against CFC was their fifth win from six matches and completely dominated the game despite the scoreline. Des Buckingham's men are showing consistency and have developed a winning mentality. If this keeps up, then MCFC will extend their lead even further at the top of the league table and may become untouchable by other competitors. They ended Chennaiyin FC's unbeaten streak and extended their own winning streak to four matches.