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Published 22:20 IST, May 4th 2024

Bipin's brilliance denies Mohun Bagan once again, Mumbai bag second ISL title with 3-1 comeback win

Bipin Singh came to haunt Mohun Bagan once again as a gritty Mumbai City FC rode on the midfielder's strike to secure a stunning 3-1 comeback win and grab the ISL title for a second time in front of a partisan Salt Lake Stadium crowd here on Saturday.

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Mumbai City beat Mohun Bagan | Image: JioCinema
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Bipin Singh came to haunt Mohun Bagan once again as a gritty Mumbai City FC rode on the midfielder's strike to secure a stunning 3-1 comeback win and grab the ISL title for a second time in front of a partisan Salt Lake Stadium crowd here on Saturday.

In front of 62,007-strong crowd, the home side roared into the lead with Jason Cummings (44th) strike at the stroke of half-time.

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But the Islanders levelled things up when Jorge Pereyra Diaz (53rd) silenced the crowd from Alberto Noguera's magnificent straight pass from the midfield.

Their moment of reckoning came in the 81st minute as Bipin came off the bench to score the decisive second goal to help Mumbai snatch the lead.

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It was Bipin's 90th minute strike that had helped Mumbai City FC win their maiden title in 2020-21 when they overturned an identical 1-0 lead to down Mohun Bagan 2-1.

Nine minutes were added to the second-half, and Mohun Bagan had enough time to bring on the equaliser but their forwards lacked the sting and the Islanders nailed the final nail in the coffin with a 90+7th minute strike by subsitute Jakub Vojtus.

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It also crushed Mohun Bagan's dream of becoming the first team to defend the ISL Cup and complete a rare double of winning the League Winners Shield and the title.

Sergio Lobera-coached Mumbai City FC had achieved the rare feat in their memorable 2020-21 season.

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But it was not a day for Mohun Bagan's shrewd 66-year-old Spaniard tactician Antonio Lopez Habas who appeared in a record fourth ISL final.

Three weeks after the Islanders failed to defend the Shield going down to the same team 1-2 at the same venue, the Petr Kratky-coached side dished out a much-improved show right from the start.

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They controlled the possession and initiated a flurry of attacks with Lallianzuala Chhangte in the thick of things, and also hit the post twice in the first half-an-hour's play.

In the 30th minute, Chhangte whipped in a freekick from an angle as it sailed over a scrambling Vishal Kaith, only to hit the crossbar and bounce out.

A couple of minutes later, Chhangte outpaced Subhasish Bose, receiving a through ball.

Instead of shooting, he passed it back into the six-yard box, but there were no Mumbai men to tap the ball in.

Kaith and the Subhasish Bose-led defence stayed under pressure, dealing with Mumbai's attacking threats.

Suddenly, Mohun Bagan lifted the atmosphere by storming into the lead.

Liston Colaco played a precise pass to Dimitri Petratos who unleashed a thunderous strike from 40 yards out as Lachenpa flapped it back into the six yard box in a sloppy goalkeeping effort.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, Mohun Bagan's chief marksman Jason Cummings sprang into action latching onto the loose ball and calmly chipped it over Phurba Lachenpa with his effortless left-footer.

But the lead did not last long as Mumbai equalised soon after the break.

A special mention should go to Spaniard Alberto Noguera for his pinpoint accuracy in delivering a sublime pass from the midfield straight into the box.

The Mohun Bagan defence was caught off guard by it as the Argentine forward seized the opportunity, effortlessly bypassing Manvir Singh without Anwar Ali to contend with. With a deft left-footed touch, Diaz calmly slotted the ball past Kaith, who stretched out his left leg in a desperate attempt to save, but to no avail.

Three years after he struck the winner in a close-door final at Margao, Bipin once again made the difference after he came on the field replacing Noguera in the 69th minute.

Chhangte dodged past Joni Kauko and took a weak shot, but Bipin's second attempt deflected off Hector Yuste and into the net, securing the decisive goal.

Jakub capitalised on Bipin's hold-up play, receiving the ball and calmly passing it to Vikram Pratap Singh, who then set up Bipin for a shot blocked by Anwar.

However, Jakub pounced on the rebound and fired it past the fallen defender to seal the issue.

22:20 IST, May 4th 2024