Mumbai City FC blanked ATK-Mohun Bagan 2-0 in the last group stage game of 2020-21 ISL, with them not only winning the League Winners Shield but also qualifying for the AFC Champions League. Meanwhile, the mariners had to settle for a second-place finish owing to an inferior goal difference.
They occupied the top spot in the Hero Indian Super League for the majority of the season. An unexpectedly bad run of form saw them lose that spot to their only rivals towards the end. But going into the final league game of the season, Mumbai City FC weren't too far away. A victory over ATK Mohun Bagan was all that they needed to secure their first League Winners Shield and a place in the AFC Champions League.
And Sergio Lobera's men made the most of their chances as they dished out a complete performance to beat Bagan 2-0 at the GMC Stadium Bambolim, here on Sunday.
The final league game of the season was expected to be close, with two of the most consistent teams in the league going head to head. But Lobera's side won comfortably in the end after first-half goals from Mourtada Fall (7') and Bartholomew Ogbeche (39').
Despite losing the top spot to Mumbai, ATK Mohun Bagan will still harbor hopes of salvaging their season with a second successive Hero ISL title.
Being the team with the most goals from set-pieces this season, Mumbai drew first blood in a similar fashion, scoring with their first shot on target. Ahmed Jahouh's free-kick fell to an unmarked Fall, who buried his header from an acute angle across the face of goal to put Mumbai ahead.
The Mariners took control of the game soon after conceding but were forced to make a substitution in the 19th minute with Prabir Das replacing the injured Sandesh Jinghan.
Chances were far and few in between after the opening goal but it was from another set-piece that Mumbai doubled their advantage. Hernan Santana's free-kick rattled the underside of the crossbar and Ogbeche pounced on the rebound, heading into an empty net.
Mumbai started the second-half bright, piling pressure on the Bagan defence. The Mariners, on the other hand, hardly tested Mumbai keeper Amrinder Singh despite dominating possession after the break.
The crossbar proved unlucky for Bagan again, denying Prabir a goal around the hour mark. The substitute lined up a shot from a distance that beat Mumbai keeper Amrinder but the ball fizzled out after striking the frame.
Antonio Lopez Habas' side went all out in the closing stages of the game, hoping to script a comeback but Mumbai's backline stood firm, defending in numbers.