ISL 2023/24 – Bipin Singh hunts Mohun Bagan in the finals yet again

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In front of a fully packed Salt Lake stadium, Mumbai City FC defeated hosts Mohun Bagan to win their second ISL championship in the 2023–24 season finale. Mohun Bagan had the advantage, but Petr Kratky’s team rallied and won the championship with incredible determination. With the Mariners failing to defend their championship in front of their supporters at their fortress, the curse of hosts losing the finals in the ISL lives on.

In their most recent encounter, which took place in the final league stage game, Mohun Bagan defeated the Islanders to win the ISL shield. Antonio Lopez Habbas went with the winning lineup once more, selecting the same starting eleven that defeated Odisha FC in the semifinals’ second leg. Conversely, Petr Kratky made just one alteration to the team that succeeded against Goa in their most recent match at the Mumbai Football Arena. Yoell Van-Nieff was suspended; Alberto Noguera took his place. Aakash Mishra, who had an injury during the first leg of the semifinals, is still recovering and was not included in the matchday roster.

Tiri’s header off target from Lallianzuala Chhangte’s free kick gave Mumbai City their first opportunity of the match. Jayesh Rane provided a wonderful cross from the right flank toward Jorge Pereyra Diaz in the six-yard box around fifteen minutes into the match, but Hector Yuste was there in time to stop the threat. About thirty minutes into the match, the cross from Jorge Pereyra Diaz toward Vikram Pratap Singh seemed to have deflected off Yuste’s arm but no penalty was awarded. Shortly after, Diaz created a chance for Chhangte in the 18-yard box with a wonderful ball forward, but Chhangte was unable to keep his effort on goal from such a tight angle.

Just before the halftime refreshment break, Chhangte had an outstanding chance to put Mumbai ahead when he almost beat Vishal Kaith at the far post, but the woodwork saved the day for the Mainers. The game’s 39th minute saw Diaz drop back and play a wonderful through pass to release Vikram, who then played it towards Chhangte, who twisted and turned to unleash his shot, which deflected off Subashish and hit the post to deny Mumbai the goal yet again. Liston Colaco made the first effort on goal for Mohun Bagan a few minutes later. After getting past Tiri, Liston took a close-range shot, but Lachenpa was equal to the challenge and stopped it with his legs.

Mohun Bagan

Contrary to the passage of play, Jason Cummings gave the Mariners the lead in the 43rd minute of the game in the finals. The Australian striker’s goal in the last match versus Odisha was exactly replicated in this one. Petratos sent a long-range effort toward the goal, but Phurba Lachenpa fumbled it directly into the path of Cummings, who was in the right spot at the right moment to get the goal. There were four more minutes added at the end of the first half. Even though Mumbai had more possession and shots, Mohun Bagan had a narrow 1-0 lead heading into halftime.

Shortly after the second half began, Subhasish came up with an off-target effort after the ball ricocheted off a Mohun Bagan corner. Jorge Pereyra Diaz gave the Islanders the equalizer in the 53rd minute. Alberto Noguera set up the goal with a beautiful through pass from the halfway line to Diaz, who outfoxed Manvir in the box and converted wonderfully to put the ball in the net. Jayesh Rane nearly gave Mumbai City the lead a little over an hour into the match. After some incredible link-up play between Diaz and Chhangte, the latter slipped a lovely ball to Jayesh, whose right-footed effort was blocked by Anwar for a corner.

Rahul Bheke had the best chance to put his team ahead in the following corner, but his shot was wildly off-target. Not too long later, Jayesh and Vikram received yellow cards for the Islanders. Noguera struggled and was unable to continue, forcing Petr Kratky to make his first substitution of the match.  Habbas also changed things by introducing Sahal instead of Thapa. Soon after, Diaz was hurt and Vojtus took his place, giving Mumbai yet another setback. Vinit Rai took Jayesh Rane’s position a few minutes later, as the latter was also limping.

The super-sub Bipin Singh gave Mumbai the lead in the 81st minute after the Islanders played some outstanding football. Vikram started the attack with a clever pass to Chhangte who was just outside the box. He did a fantastic job creating space and launching his shot. Yuste stopped Chhangte’s shot, causing it to fall directly to Vojtus, who then set up Bipin for the goal. Bipin failed miserably on his first try, but he managed to get the ball past Subhasish and score on his second attempt. Bipin scored the winning goal the previous time these two teams faced off in the ISL final in 2020–21, and he did so again tonight.

Mohun Bagan vs Mumbai City

The Mariners had an opportunity to equalize immediately when Manvir Singh played a brilliant cross towards Jason Cummings at the far post but the latter’s volley was off-target. In the 88th minute, Liston attempted to score from a long-range effort but Lachenpa awkwardly pushed the ball away for a throw-in. From the throw-in, Liston played a cross towards Kauko at the far post, but Rahul Bheke did just enough to deny Kauko any chance of scoring. Nine more minutes were added on at the end of the second half.

In stoppage time, the quick Mumbai attackers had plenty of room to attack as the Mariners pushed for the equalizer. The Islanders had a chance to put the game to bed a few minutes into stoppage time, but Vikram was unable to find Chhangte with his pass. Vojtus gave the Islanders their third goal in the 97th minute, securing their second ISL championship. When Vikram flicked the ball in Bipin’s path, Anwar intercepted it and it dropped into Vojtus’s feet, who did an incredible job of finding the back of the net. In the end, Mumbai City prevailed 3-1.

Petr Kratky and his team did a fantastic job of winning the ISL trophy, defeating Mohun Bagan Super Giants in front of their home fans at their fortress. Despite the underwhelming AFC Champions League campaign, Des Buckingham leaving midway through the season and losing the ISL shield on the final day of the league stage, the Islanders have done incredibly well to achieve this feat. The Mariners, the reigning champions, will be devastated to lose the finals and to miss out on winning the domestic treble. Antonio Lopez Habbas will be upset that his team has lost to Mumbai City in yet another final.


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Shyam Sundar
Shyam Sundar
A youthful, diehard supporter of the Indian Football Team and Chennaiyin FC. Before the Lockdown, I didn't often watch Indian football! I occasionally kept up with the Blue Tigers, but not consistently. But ever since the lockdown, I've become really interested in Indian football. I may not have a background in journalism, but Indian football is something I am really passionate about.

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