Indian flavour tastes good in Mumbai City ISL triumph

From Left: Vikram Partap Singh, Apuia, Lallianzuala Chhangte. Source: Instagram

Mumbai City FC couldn’t get their hands on their third ISL Shield but redeemed themselves by winning their second ISL Trophy, defeating Mohun Bagan on both occasions. George Pereyra Diaz brought Mumbai back eight minutes into the second half, while Bipin Singh scored a late brace as The Islanders braved the roaring 62,000 hostile crowd on Saturday to win 3-1. Peter Kratky, Mumbai City’s head coach, joined mid-season but worked wonders with this bunch of players.

While most foreigners steal the limelight in such triumphant stories in Indian Football Leagues, this time the narrative has been different for Petr Kratky’s boys. Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vikram Partap Singh, and Apuia have never let Kratky feel the absence of key foreigners like Greg Stewart and Iker Guarrotxena, who left the club mid-season.

Lallianzuala Chhangte, already a key player for Mumbai, has surpassed his previous season’s display in the ongoing season. With sheer attacking prowess, composure, and the ability to threaten opponents with set pieces, Chhangte has been a major threat in the opponents’ backline. In the final, it was Bipin Singh, another Indian attacking stalwart, who made the difference after coming in the second half. But it was Chhangte who kept Mohun Bagan’s defence on their toes, and exposed it eventually.

Apuia, the midfield stalwart for the Islanders, has successfully filled the shoes of Yoell Van Nieff in the final, who missed the game due to suspension. Not only in the final, Apuia has consistently done his job in the middle for Mumbai over the years.

During the semi-finals of the ongoing ISL, Mumbai burst into the headlines by scripting a late comeback, scoring three goals in additional time to spoil Goa’s hopes of reaching the final. But during that time, Mumbai had only one foreigner present on the pitch in Thaer Krouma. Indian players like Chhangte, Jayesh Rane, and Vikram Partap Singh were successful in turning the tide against Goa.

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Mumbai City FC with the ISL Trophy
Mumbai City FC with the ISL Trophy (Image: ISL)

Vikram Partap Singh, on the other hand, has found his mojo in the second half of the season, scoring eight goals and providing four assists, contributing to the team’s success. While the attacking line-ups of most teams rely on foreigners, Mumbai’s attack had enough firepower with Indian players dominating.

Mumbai Head Coach Petr Kratky was also impressed with the Indian players’ performance throughout the season, which was one of his goals for coming to India. “It was our goal to improve their confidence. That’s why I came here, to help the country improve and help the players get opportunities,” Kratky said in the post-match conference.
Alongside the impressive form of Apuia, Chhangte, and Vikram, it bodes well for India in the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers fixture against Kuwait in June, which is a do-or-die clash for the Blue Tigers. The ISL Cup triumph will be a morale boost for this group of players for the crucial fixture next month.

Also Read: Pressure of the grand final consumes Mohun Bagan