In a do-or-die situation, Mumbai City FC brought out their best possible play in recent times to inflict the heaviest loss of the season on Odisha FC and thereby keeping their hopes alive for making it to the Asian Champions League (ACL).
The Islanders took the field determined and a dominant display saw them winning the game 6-1 at GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Wednesday.
Bipin Singh scored the first hat-trick (38’, 47’ 86’) of the 2020-21 season of Indian Super League (ISL), Bartholomew Ogbeche (13’, 43’) got a double while Cy Goddard (44’) netted the most beautiful of the goals on the night for Mumbai City.
Interestingly, Odisha opened the scoring through a penalty in the ninth minute. Following a foul on Jerry Mawihmingthanga by midfielder Ahmed Jahouh, Brazilian Diego Mauricio was lucky enough to convert from the spot with a weak, straight strike which hit Mumbai goalkeeper Amrinder Singh’s arm before going in.
With this thumping victory Mumbai reached 37 points from 19 matches and will have their task cut out when they take on league leaders and defending champions ATK Mohun Bagan in the last league encounter on Sunday. ATKMB are on 40 points but desperately need a point to ensure ACL berth as they have already lost the reverse fixture 0-1.
Odisha played better football in the opening 10 minutes but conceding the lead proved to be Mumbai’s wake-up call as the floodgates opened right after the penalty. It took Mumbai only four minutes after the Odisha goal to draw parity through Ogbeche’s flying header off a Jahouh free-kick from right.
Mumbai continued to press hard to take the lead but they had to wait till 38 minutes when Bipin scored following a failed clearance by Odisha centre-back Jacob Tratt.
Then before half-time itself, Mumbai were 4-1 up with back-to-back goals as Odisha defenders stood like bowling pins. First, Ogbeche scored his second of the match with another unmarked header off a Jahouh free-kick from left at second post while Goddard scored with a brilliant left-footer from right of the area which shook the top left corner of the net.
The English-born Japanese winger had four-five men closing in on him but gave the Odisha players absolutely no chance and time with a precision strike which could have easily beaten worldclass goalkeepers any day.
Mumbai looked content with their lead after the breather and were understandably trying to save some energy and legs ahead of their match against ATKMB. However, that didn’t deter them from scoring another two despite missing a couple of chances, including one from the spot by Jahouh.
Bipin brought his second of the night two minutes into the second half following an assist by Ogbeche and was again rewarded for his opportunistic instinct as he brought his hat-trick by tapping in from close range when Arshdeep’s block of a long-ranger shot from Rowllin Borges fell to him near the right post.