A tense I-League affair between Bengaluru FC and Mumbai FC ended in a 1-1 draw here on Sunday. Bengaluru FC now holds a three-point lead at the top of the table.

The action on the field failed to inspire, but the sparks which flew during the course of the match provided plenty of excitement.

Mumbai FC, the underdog, took the lead after the restart, which signalled the start of the tension. The 7,162-strong crowd at the Bangalore Football Stadium let loose on the visiting team with a string of obscene chants. The coach, Khalid Jamil, showed his displeasure, which only escalated the situation.

Ashley Westwood, the Bengaluru FC coach, got into the act as well. Frustrated with the time-wasting tactics employed, he dived straight into a verbal exchange with the opposing players.

This spurred his team on, which equalised through Robin Singh in the 55th minute. The ever-reliable Beikhokhei Beingaicho supplied the striker with the perfect cross, which was duly headed in. Riding on wild crowd support, Bengaluru FC midfielder Siam Hangal antagonized Jamil with a none-too-friendly gesture. The fuel was poured on the fire once again.

The football, viewed without the dramatics, proved to be listless. It started brightly, though, with a volley from Singh which hit the Mumbai FC crossbar. The number of chances dwindled thereafter; it was clear that the absence of ace forward Sunil Chhetri hurt Bengaluru FC.

The result: Mumbai FC 1 (Ebi Sukore 47) Bengaluru FC 1 (Robin Singh 55). — Sports Reporter

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