Mumbai FC play out a goal-less home game against Sporting Clube de Goa

Mumbai FC's key man Taisuke Matsugae in action

The 5th round of the I – League saw the refurbished Cooperage stadium playing host for the home team Mumbai FC after a long hiatus of five long years. Both the teams were pegged at the bottom of the points table at the start of this encounter, were looking for a victory.

Khalid Jamil, the Mumbai coach was confident that the artificial turf would play to the hosts’ advantage, hoping for a positive result and went in with 4 changes to his starting eleven from the previous loss against Pune FC in the Maharashtra derby. On the other hand, Sporting gaffer made three changes to include the new signings Sandesh Jhinghan, Garcia and Brandon.

Cooperage was robust with fans from all walks of life, ready to witness an entertaining game of football on a breezy Sunday evening, in a well set festive atmosphere.

Keenan Almeida did shake up the Mumbai defense a bit just at the beginning. However, Mumbai lined up a chance in the 8th minute when Justin Stephen gave in a long ball to the rushing Kuttymani on the left near the byline who squared it up behind for Josimar but the winger was unable to manage a goal due to Miguel Garcia’s defense pressure in from the back.

The 13th and 14th minute saw two subsequent yet great attempts from Mumbai FC but it was as if the goal was alienating the hosts. Cletus Paul took a clinical free kick which was cleared over by Sporting keeper Ravi Kumar and on the second chance Cletus put the ball inside the box but Rafi was unsuccessful in keeping it low with his head from a close range.

On the 20 minute mark, it was all about Mumbai in the ascendancy but no goals to show case their efforts.

In the final quarter, Mumbai too seemed to be lagging their passes and this was evident with two distant chances from Sporting both of which went wide past the post. The first came in from Boima Karpeh in the 31st minute and the second one two minutes late from Ogba Kalu who put in a wayward shot which Victirino did try to direct onto the target.

Mumbai who were raking up possession were abruptly forced to go in with long shots on goal courtesy the line defense adopted by Goa. The best chance came in on the extra time of the first half when Mumbai’s Allan Dias whose shot that camouflaged like a cross could have drifted well past in the top right corner if not for the alert Ravi Kumar.

Jhingan, the former Mumbai player and the rising star of India stood like a rock in the defense to block and tackle innumerable Mumbai attempts as both teams went into the break goal less.

The second half began as the sun set in the back ground, and it seemed as though Sporting had re launched themselves with renewed vigour and zest.

But, it was Mumbai’s play maker Taisuke who set up the first real opportunity of the second session when he unleashed a powerful shot on goal but it was straight into the clasp of keeper Ravi Kumar.

The 60th minute was when Josimar riding on a counter attack decided to go all the way alone into the rival half but the spectacular Jhingan made a fruitful run in from the left to trace the Brazilian and was eventually successful in winning the ball.
To counter the counter, Sporting Boima curled in a flashing cross near the box which reached nobody but Wolfe who was located at the back post managed to get a shot past keeper Nidhin but his effort ran wide of the goal.

After a bout of pin-balling, Taisuke attempted a shot on the 64th minute from the penalty area but only to smack it in the side netting.

From then on until the end of the match, both teams kept creating chances especially Mumbai but Jhingan and his troupe were holding them up.

Mumbai were pressing for a victory when Vashum the substitute was instrumental on winning a free kick at the edge of the box after being pushed by Kalu. Coutinho struck the Sporting wall on his set piece and what followed was a long rumpus before the ball was finally cleared by Sporting.

On the 4th minute of 5 minutes of added time to the total 90, Taisuke gave in a free kick, but the header from near post was cleared by the keeper, subsequently the Japanese also won a foul off Kalu and game ended with his long, futile kick near the box.

Either of the teams were unable yet again to register the first win of the season as Mumbai garnered a solitary point to be placed at the bottom of the pile, with Sporting a placed above them with a couple of points to their name.

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