ISL 2023/24: Mohun Bagan clinch ISL Shield beating Mumbai City in the title decider


61,177 fans erupted in jubilation in the Salt Lake stadium as the final whistle saw Mohun Bagan Super Giant win their maiden Indian Super League (ISL) Shield. A title decider on the final matchday of the league is a rare occurrence and the match being played between the defending ISL Shield champions, Mumbai City FC, and the defending ISL champions, Mohun Bagan raised the gravitas of the encounter manifolds. The Mariners needed a win from this game to be crowned champions whereas even a draw would be enough to push the Islanders over the finish line in pole position.

The urgency of the match was not lost on Habas’ men as they started strong with Liston Colaco finding the back of the net with a screamer in the 28th minute. Mohun Bagan’s advantage was doubled in the 80th minute by Jason Cummings. A late goal from Lallianzuala Chhangte and a red card for the Mariners’ Brendan Hamill was not enough for Mumbai City as Mohun Bagan Super Giant held on to lift the 2023/24 ISL League Winner’s Shield for the first time.

In the 2nd minute, Bose launched a hopeful ball across the field to find Manvir. With a flick, he evaded Akash Mishra’s challenge and surged into the box. However, his inability to find a shot left Mohun Bagan fans yearning for an early breakthrough.

In the 3rd minute, Bipin embarked on a promising run after Noguera’s incisive pass. Despite his efforts, the MBSG defense thwarted his attempt, leaving Mumbai City FC supporters holding their breath.

The 13th minute showcased Colaco’s daring drive into the box, his pass met with anticipation. Yet, the clearance denied Mohun Bagan’s aspirations, while a collision near the halfway line added to the mounting tension.

In the 19th minute, anticipation swelled as Thapa’s exquisite cross found Liston Colaco unmarked. Hearts raced as his header struck the post, followed by an agonizing miss from Suryavanshi, leaving Mohun Bagan’s faithful in disbelief.

In the 28th minute, jubilation erupted as Liston Colaco unleashed a thunderbolt, defying Bipin Singh’s challenge. It was a moment of pure magic, etching itself into the hearts of Mohun Bagan supporters, assisted by Petratos.

ISL 2023/24: Mohun Bagan clinch ISL Shield beating Mumbai City in the title decider GLNxpd6XgAA4lsE

The 36th minute witnessed a moment of resilience as Apuia sought to ignite hope. His endeavor was met with defiance by Petratos, whose intervention thwarted MCFC’s aspirations, eliciting roars from the Mohun Bagan faithful.

In the 41st minute, hearts skipped a beat as Petratos seized an opportunity from afar. His audacious attempt soared, narrowly missing its mark, leaving spectators on the edge of their seats.

In the 44th minute, a surge of hope engulfed Mumbai as Chhangte and Diaz combined with precision. The collective gasp turned to dismay as the shot veered wide, leaving Mumbai City FC’s hopes hanging by a thread.

As the 45th minute approached, emotions ran high. Mohun Bagan fans dared to dream while Mumbai City FC sought redemption, with Colaco’s sublime strike separating the sides at halftime.

The Mariners knew the plan and were playing it to near perfection. Mumbai City who boasts the best defense in the league this season was not being allowed to play out from the back with Thapa and Petratos leading a very high press. The Islanders did have chances to score once the Mariners got the lead and eased off the press. The second half however saw a very different approach from Mohun Bagan. Mumbai City started very strong and was allowed to play out from the back.

ISL 2023/24: Mohun Bagan clinch ISL Shield beating Mumbai City in the title decider GLNxpe WcAAUotX

However, Vishal Kaith was hardly troubled by the Mumbai attack as every attack told the same story. Every one of Petr Kratky’s attackers in the final third saw themself surrounded by a very intense press from multiple Mohun Bagan defenders who excelled at finding a teammate with their clearance. Kaith himself started several counter-attacks by launching the ball with precision when Mumbai City had committed too many players forward in search of the equalizer.

In the 46th minute, Mumbai City FC burst out of the gates with determination, launching a barrage of attacks to overturn the deficit. Van Nieff orchestrated a promising move, threading a precise through ball to Bipin Singh on the left flank. However, Mohun Bagan’s resolute defense intercepted his intended pass into the box, snuffing out the early danger.

Armando Sadiku unleashed a hopeful strike from long range in the 60th minute, catching the opposition keeper off guard. The collective anticipation soared as the ball sailed towards the net, only to graze the right post, denying Sadiku and MCFC a much-needed equalizer.

In the 61st minute, substitute Vojtus soared high to meet Mehtab Singh’s tantalizing cross into the box. Despite his valiant effort, Vojtus’ header lacked the precision to trouble the goalkeeper, leaving Mumbai City FC frustrated once more.

Seventy-seven minutes in, Manvir Singh embarked on a daring run down the right flank, delivering a pinpoint pass to Thapa on the edge of the box. Thapa unleashed a ferocious shot that seemed destined for the net, but the MCFC keeper pulled off a stunning save, preserving Mohun Bagan’s slender lead.

In the 80th minute, the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati exploded again as Mohun Bagan doubled their advantage as Jason Cummings seized an opportunity on the counterattack. Petratos’ exquisite through ball found Cummings inside the box, who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner, seemingly sealing victory for Antonio Habas’ men.

Ninety minutes on the clock, Chhangte breathed new life into Mumbai City FC’s hopes, earning a freekick after being fouled by Tangri in Mohun Bagan’s half. Van Nieff’s delivery into the box initially evaded everyone, but the ensuing corner fell kindly to Chhangte, who lashed the ball home, igniting hopes of a late comeback among the MCFC faithful. The stadium had been stunned into silence for a few moments as their worst fears seemed to start to take shape. However, the silence was short-lived as the crowd rallied behind the home team applauding them for the final few minutes that would determine their destiny.

In stoppage time, Mohun Bagan was reduced to ten men as Brendan Hamill received his marching orders, setting the stage for a tense finale with eight minutes of added time. This seemed to reinvigorate Mohun Bagan’s defensive game however as they went deeper and created little pockets on either side of the field to play through the intense Mumbai City press. This worked as the Islanders’ attackers were frustrated with the ball being constantly won back and cleared.

ISL 2023/24: Mohun Bagan clinch ISL Shield beating Mumbai City in the title decider DIP 4877 1

At the final whistle in extra time, Mohun Bagan emerged victorious, clinching the League Winners Shield in a thrilling encounter. Petratos attempted to run down the clock with a shot that sailed over the crossbar, but Mumbai City FC’s late efforts fell short, marking a memorable night for Antonio Habas’ men as they concluded the season on a record-breaking high of 48 points. The best attack in the league this season, Mohun Bagan Super Giant just edged a very valiant and tactically brilliant Mumbai City FC to the Shield with this 2-1 win.

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