KOCHI: After two unconvincing performances, Mumbai City FC, who have one of the strongest squads on paper in the Indian Super League, produced a scintillating performance against East Bengal SC to underline their title credentials. Sergio Lobera's men ran riot as they won 3-0 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Tuesday.
The two protagonists of their victory were Adam le Fondre and Hugo Boumous. While East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler is familiar with the threat posed by Le Fondre thanks to their time in the A-League, he got a first-hand experience of why Boumous was one of the best players in the ISL last season.
While there was a lot of pressure on Boumous after his underwhelming display in the opening two matches, the Frenchman made up for that against East Bengal and was involved in all three of his team's goals. In the process, he became the all-time highest assist provider in the history of the ISL with 19 assists.
East Bengal suffered an early setback as they lost their captain Daniel Fox to injury inside the first five minutes. And Fox's absence unsettled their defence and Mumbai didn't need a second invitation to exploit that. They started stretching the East Bengal defence from the wider positions and Boumous and Le Fondre were linking up well up front.
Mumbai managed to break the deadlock in the 20th minute after a lightning-quick counterattack. Rowllin Borges launched a long diagonal ball into the path of Boumous from a corner. The Frenchman did all the hard work of beating his marker and then selflessly laid it up for Le Fondre to tap it in. East Bengal had a few half chances with Mohammed Rafique testing Mumbai keeper Amrinder Singh with a long-ranger that was tipped away as the Islanders went into half-time with a 1-0 lead.
Boumous then won a penalty just three minutes into the second half with Le Fondre smashing it in to make it 2-0 in the 48th minute. The third came from a set-piece as Jahouh floated a free-kick to Boumous who laid it up for Hernan Santana only to smash it in. It is Mumbai's second win on the trot that takes them to the top of the table while East Bengal are still looking for their first points.
Result: Mumbai City (Le Fondre 20, 48, Hernan 58) 3-0 East Bengal