Image Credits: @ISL
Despite chances falling to both sides, it took Mumbai City FC until the 86th minute to get the better of Chennaiyin FC on a wonderfully pleasant Wednesday evening - with Rahul Bheke heading in the winner.
Bheke scored the winner in the 86th minute, making the most of a Vishal Kaith error as the goalkeeper bottled up after Ahmed Jahouh set Bheke up from a free kick.
Courtesy of the result, Mumbai now have 15 points from six matches. Chennaiyin, meanwhile, dropped to fifth with eight points from five matches.
Chennaiyin were off to a good start but in no time Mumbai were back to doing what they do best, keep the ball and dictate the tempo of the game.
Cassio Gabriel looked as sharp as ever but the first chance fell to Igor Angulo after Vishal Kaith made a meal of an easy collection and Angulo was on hand to take a swipe but the seasoned striker found the outside of the post to his and Mumbai's dismay.
Angulo had another chance to make it 1-0 for the Islanders in the 22nd minute when Ahmed Jahouh dinked a delectable ball for him but the 37-year old Spaniard shot wide.
Chennaiyin struggled to get the ball out of their half as the league leaders bossed possession.
Bheke provides killer blow
.@MumbaiCityFC had to dig deep, but it was @RahulBheke's late winner which made the difference in an entertaining 1-0 win! 💪🏼🔥#MCFCCFC #HeroISL #LetsFootball pic.twitter.com/qeljkLETXA
.@MumbaiCityFC had to dig deep, but it was @RahulBheke's late winner which made the difference in an entertaining 1-0 win! 💪🏼🔥#MCFCCFC #HeroISL #LetsFootball pic.twitter.com/qeljkLETXA— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) December 15, 2021
In the second period, it was more of the same as Mumbai tried to break the resolute Chennaiyin defence.
In the 70th minute, Gabriel fired in a first-time shot but Vishal Kaith made a good reactive save, to be called into action again to pull off a double save.
Mumbai head coach Des Buckingham brought in Ygor Catatau for Angulo in search of that elusive goal, but that came from an unlikely source in the 86th minute.
Bheke scored his first goal for the club, nodding in a Jahouh free kick past Kaith who tried hard but saw the ball cushion into the back of the net.
Ariel Borysiuk fired a rocket from around 40 yards in the 89th minute but the ball went just over the bar as Chennaiyin lost their first game of the season.