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ISL 2022-23: Mumbai City FC reclaim No. 1 spot after a dominant win over East Bengal FC

A rejuvenated Mumbai City FC didn’t miss a beat from where they had left off, as they eased past East Bengal FC to reclaim top spot in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 on Friday.

football ISL 2022-23: Mumbai City FC reclaim No. 1 spot after a dominant win over East Bengal FC snt
First Published Dec 16, 2022, 10:07 PM IST

At the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday, Mumbai City FC easily defeated East Bengal FC to recover first place in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23. They continued just where they had left off. The Torch Bearers lost their 50th Hero ISL game as Lalengmawia Ralte scored a hat trick, and Greg Stewart recorded his third goal of the year.

Jordan O'Doherty, the injured midfielder for the visitors, was replaced by Charis Kyriakou in the starting lineup. Two adjustments were made to the back four for the guests. In place of Rostyn Griffiths, who was injured, Mourtada Fall earned his second start of the year, and Mandar Dessai took Vignesh Dakshinamurthy's position at left-back.

After beating Ivan Gonzalez on the right side and sending the ball into Stewart's path, Lallianzuala Chhangte nearly gave Mumbai City FC the lead after only five minutes. The Scotsman took a touch before firing a strong shot from a tight angle that Kamaljit Singh partially stopped. Ankit Mukherjee successfully cleared the ball off the line as it was heading toward the goal.

Although East Bengal FC exhibited resiliency, their defences were breached in the 26th minute when Ralte evaded the offside trap and capitalised on Stewart's deft through ball before calmly putting it past Kamaljit. A little more than five minutes later, Fall volleyed Ahmed Jahouh's corner onto the bar from close range.

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In the fifth minute of the second half, Stewart created a two-goal lead. The midfielder shot the ball in from the edge of the box because the East Bengal FC defenders could not contain him. In the 59th minute, the Islanders scored the third goal with ease. Before Ralte scored his second goal of the evening, Chhangte, Bipin Singh, and Jorge Diaz played a series of fast passes in front of East Bengal's defence.

In the game, East Bengal only sometimes showed some vigour. One of them came from the substitute Eliandro dos Santos, whose drive from the edge of the box was brilliantly blocked by Fall in the last seconds. Tuhin Das, a substitute, fired a shot from a distance in the 84th minute, which got past Phurba Lachenpa and struck the post.

Vikram Singh was pushed into the penalty area by Jerry Lalrinzuala in the waning seconds of the contest, and the Islanders were given a penalty. Gurkirat Singh, a replacement, attempted to make it 4-0 for Mumbai City FC but was unsuccessful.

Mumbai City FC now leads Hyderabad FC by two points at the top of the standings following the victory. On Christmas Eve, the Islanders will play Chennaiyin FC at home. East Bengal FC, with nine points, is still in ninth place. Before playing host to Bengaluru FC on December 30, Friday, the Torch Bearers will have a lengthy rest.

Key Stats:
- Mehtab Singh had 103 touches of the ball and finished with a passing accuracy of 99%
- Kamaljit Singh faced 16 shots on the night and made 6 saves
- Mourtada Fall finished the game with 2 blocks and 2 clearances

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