In the I-League this season, Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan ran neck and neck for the title. Bengaluru relied on Sunil Chhetri, while Bagan rode on Sony Norde’s skill. In the end, Norde prevailed as his side edged out Bengaluru to lift the title.
In the Indian Super League (ISL), the two are enjoying a successful partnership. On Sunday, the duo was at the forefront as Mumbai City FC beat FC Goa 2-0 to register their second consecutive victory.
Heading into the game, all eyes were on Mumbai player-cum-manager Nicolas Anelka as there was talk that he would take the field.
Anelka did come on as a substitute late in the second half, but by then his boys had settled the game.
While Chhetri converted a penalty in the 33rd minute to bring up the opener, Norde created the second from a set-piece, which was headed in by Frederic Piquionne three minutes into the second half.
Chhetri has been Mumbai’s go-to man since his entry this season. Of the five goals the team has scored so far, the India captain has been responsible for three. Norde, meanwhile, has been at the heart of nearly every charge.
Playing on the left, Norde has been providing excellent support to the forward line. He has had 11 shots on target and has provided crosses from the left, most of them directed at Chhetri. This understanding has spelt success for Mumbai.
Ahead of the game, Chhetri had admitted that their transition from opponents to partners had been smooth. “With our teams locked in a bid for the I-League title, it was difficult to like him,” he had laughed.
“For our I-League sides we would play from the left. Also, he comes inside from the left, which is similar to what I tend to do. So, we have a good understanding of what the other is thinking,” Chhetri added.