Gritty ten men of Mumbai FC thwart relentless Pune FC

Pune FC's Darco Nikak and Mumbai FC's Chika Wali in action at cooperage- I-League

Ten men Mumbai FC dished out a resolute defensive display to earn a 1-1 draw against Pune FC at Cooperage and maintain their unbeaten record at home. A wonder goal from Taisuke was cancelled out by a late Pune FC equaliser.

Mumbai got off to a dream start when Taisuke Matsugae scored a wonder goal his effort from behind the half line sailed over Arup Debnath into the vacant. Arup was completely caught out by Taisuke’s clever piece of thinking and Mumbai FC took the lead with just four minutes on the clock.

The goal rattled Pune FC as Mumbai FC began to threaten the Pune goal and Paresh Shivalkar nearly sneaked in on goal two minutes later.

But just as Mumbai’s attacks stemmed, Pune FC began to impose themselves and got their crisp passing going.

But Mumbai always seemed to carry a threat upfront in the initial stages, as Abhishek Yadav tried to replicate Taisuke and catch the Pune FC goalkeeper off his line. But the veteran striker failed to get his strike on target in the 17th minute.

Pune FC’s Edgar Marcelino came close to an equaliser with a long range effort which sailed inches wide of the Mumbai FC goal. That was Pune FC’s first attempt of note in the game which came in the 28th minute.

A huge moment was to follow in the next minute when Sampath Kutti Mani was sent off for kicking a Pune FC player from behind. It was a moment box controversy but there was no need for Kutti Mani to commit the foul

The moment of madness from the Mumbai FC midfielder put his team under massive pressure.

After a spell of Pune domination following the sending off, Arata Izumi forced a brilliant save off Nidhin Lal with a thunderbolt of an effort in the 36th minute. It was a cracking drive from the Pune FC midfielder and needed a strong fist from the Mumbai FC shotstopper to keep that effort away.

Pune FC were forced into a change when Darko Nikac got injured after a tussle with Taisuke and was replaced by Fanai Lalrempuia in the 41st minute.

Pune FC had the Mumbai goal under siege in the dying minutes of the first half and it took a goal line clearance from Taisuke Matsugae in the 45th minute to keep Mumbai FC’s lead intact.

Mumbai FC managed to hold on to the slender lead after seeing an Edgar effort go wide in the final minute of the first half.

Mumbai FC’s job was only half done but managed to stifle the Pune FC attack reducing them to long range efforts.

Pune FC brought on Syed Shoaib at half time in place of Prakash Thorat and the substitute nearly had the perfect impact when he turned and shot at the Mumbai goal only for Nidhin Lal to keep it away after a good low save just two minutes into the second half.

Mumbai made a couple of changes minutes before the hour mark, bringing on Pradeep Mohanraj and Milagres Gonsalves in place of Dean Pereira and Abhishek Yadav.

The ten men of Mumbai FC were put under extreme pressure by the visitors and Edgar Marcelino was giving Mumbai FC plenty of problems with his pin point crosses.

Mumbai FC carved out a brilliant counter attack as the two substitutes combined after a breathtaking run from Milagres Gonsalves set up Pradeep Mohanraj who fired his shot over in the 69th minute.

But just as frustration started to get the better of them, Pune FC eventually found a way past the stern Mumbai FC defence when a brilliant interplay set up Raju Yumnam who finished brilliantly leaving no room for any Nidhin Lal heroics to level the scores in the 76th minute.

Mumbai FC fans had a nervous end in store as their side looked to hold on to a point after being pegged back late on.

Pune’s Ishfaq Ahmed missed a good chance in the 89th minute when he fired over after being slid in on goal by Arata Izumi.

Mumbai FC had defended heroically all game and made Pune toil every inch. But the visitors too showed great technical skills to carve open a gritty and compact defence.

Mumbai FC saw off the six minutes of stoppage time to earn a valuable point in a game and keep their unbeaten run intact. It was great display of character from the hosts as they got a point from the game despite being a man down for an hour.

The draw means both teams stay in the same place in the standings as they started the evening with.

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