East Bengal go down fighting to Mumbai City FC in tense encounter at Salt Lake

East Bengal FC fell to a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat against Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League on Tuesday despite a spirited performance. Missing some big names on the team sheet due to injuries and suspensions, the Red and Gold Brigade were unable to overcome a solitary strike from Iker Guarrotxena in the 24th minute.

Mumbai began the match with sharper teeth, testing Gill early through Guarrotxena. The reigning Golden Boot winner, Lallianzuala Chhangte, tormented the East Bengal defense with his pace and trickery, crafting openings for himself and his teammates. However, it was Guarrotxena who seized the limelight, rising majestically to meet Alberto Noguera’s delightful delivery and scoring the opener.

East Bengal fought valiantly to restore parity. Hijazi Maher and Victor Vazquez threatened the Mumbai goal, with Vazquez in particular coming agonizingly close with a free-kick that rattled the woodwork. But the visitors’ resolute defense remained unbreached, securing a vital victory that keeps their playoff dreams alive.

“Playing defensive was something I asked my players to do because of our opponents,” said Cuadrat right after the match. “This is the reality of ISL. There are five teams in the league, who are winning one match after another while rest six have won two-three matches. The rest of the five teams will have to fight for that one position.” “I really appreciate my players for the effort (in these tough situations) and I really appreciate the club. They understand the situation. They have been supporting me a lot,” he added.

The Red and Gold Brigade have to go on a run of wins now to stay on the hunt for a place in the playoffs. Their next challenge comes against Hyderabad FC on Saturday and with skipper Cleiton Silva back, Coach Cuadrat will be looking to go for the maximum points on the night.