Kerala sneak a point in 1-1 draw against Mumbai
Mumbai City FC were held to a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the DY Patil Stadium on Thursday. Mumbai took the lead in the first half through Juan Aguilera before Antonio German drew the visitors level just before full-time as both sides took one point a-piece in an entertaining draw in front of 25,317 spectators in Navi Mumbai.
Sony Norde who was making his first start for Mumbai City FC after three matches – having been away on national duty – had the first shot of the game when he cut in from the left and fired a shot over the Kerala crossbar in the 5th minute.
Josu Currais had Kerala’s first attempt on goal 4 minutes later when he unleashed a left-footed effort from range that just fizzled past a scrambling Subrata Paul in the Mumbai goal. Singam Subash Singh forced Sandip Nandy into making the first save of the match in the 24th minute when Nandy had to tip behind Singam’s effort for a corner.
The hosts took the lead from the resulting corner when the Mumbai goalkeeper punched out the ball straight to Aguilera who smashed his shot past the keeper and a crowded Kerala six-yard box to hand the hosts the lead.
Chris Dagnall almost put the Blasters level in the 34th minute after bamboozling Mumbai’s defence and rounding Paul in goal. Only a last ditch interception from Pavel Cmovs on the goal-line made sure that Mumbai maintained their 1-0 lead.
The first half came to an end with another thunderous Josu shot from range. This time, his effort was on target and proved to be too hot to handle for Paul who fumbled the initial shot from Josu but recovered in time to foil any threat from Dagnall who was lurking in the danger area, waiting for the rebound.
German came close to levelling things up for the visitors soon after the restart when Dagnall played the ball to German who turned Cmovs and scuffed his shot just beyond Paul’s far post. The Englishman was seeing plenty of the ball by this stage and also saw a header go tantalizingly wide off the post in the 52nd minute.
Kerala were looking increasingly threatening as the half progressed and Sandesh Jhingan could have equalised with another header that was wide of the target 3 minutes after German’s effort. Mumbai though could have put the game to bed themselves in the 64th minute after Sunil Chhetri played Singam through on goal. The 25-year-old, however, sent his shot whistling past Kerala’s far post as everyone in yellow breathed a sigh of relief.
The Blasters amped up the pressure 15 minutes from full-time as Josu was denied spectacularly by substitute keeper Debjit Majumder who just managed to tip the Spaniard’s brilliant direct free-kick over his crossbar for a corner.
Mumbai City FC fell deeper into their own half in the last 10 minutes of the match as they looked to protect their lead. This proved to be a hammer blow for the home team as Kerala got their equaliser 2 minutes from normal time through danger-man German.
A harmless ball from the right was headed out by Singam Subash who didn’t get enough distance on his clearance as it fell perfectly to German. The Englishman’s first-time volley went past a helpless Majumder in goal and restored parity for the Blasters.
The goal set up a blockbuster finish to the game with Cristian Bustos and Bruno Perone missing big chances for their respective teams. But after 4 minutes of added time, the game ended in a 1-1 draw as both sides shared the spoils. With this result, Kerala Blasters have 12 points from 12 games, while Mumbai City FC have 13 from the same number of games.
Club Award: Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters FC
Swift Moment of the Match: Josu (Kerala Blasters FC)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Sunil Chhetri (Mumbai City FC)
DHL Winning Pass Award: Sony Norde (Mumbai City FC)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Saran Singh (Mumbai City FC)
Hero of the Match: Juan Aguilera (Mumbai City FC)
– ISL Media