Unlucky Mumbai City FC held by Kerala Blasters

In front of a strong 61,483 passionate fans, the clash between Kerala Blasters and Mumbai City FC ended in a stalemate at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.

Both the outfits could have been ended on a winning side but failing to convert chances into goals were being wasted by both, Kerala Blasters and Mumbai City FC. It was the first goalless draw of this season’s Indian Super League.

Subrata Pal was left on the bench as he just returned from the National duties, Debijit Majumder started in front of goal. Sunil Chhetri, Frederic Piquionne, Andre Moritz, Keegan Pereira and player cum manager Nicolas Anelka all were on bench.

Sonny Norde, Subhash SIngh and Gabriel Fernandes all started as attackers for the Mumbaikars. So many changes left Mumbai fans surprised.

The host too missed star players on bench as Sandhesh Jhingan was not included in the starting line-up.

Rahul Bheke, CK Vineeth, Peter Rampage, Mehtab Hossain all started for the Blasters. Manandeep started up front with Dagnall.

Mumbai City started brightly as compared to Kerala Blasters. Sonny Norde seemed dangerous on the left side as he supported Gabriel Fernandes throughout the match. Inside just five minutes, Gabriel Fernandes latches onto a long ball by Pavel Cmovs but his effort went just above the bar.

The Mumbaikars continued with their early pressure and called Kerala keeper Stephen Bywater into action in the 12th minute. Subash Singh tried guiding in a Norde free-kick into the Kerala goal but Bywater was positioned perfectly to thwart out the danger.

Minutes later, Pulga’s long ball in from the right wing travelled awkwardly on goal and had to be tipped over by the Mumbai City FC’s goalkeeper, Debijit Majumdar, Mohun Bagan’s attacker Sony Norde was lively throughout the half on the left flank, and was giving the hosts all sorts of trouble.

The Haitian’s pace and strength made life difficult for Kerala defenders Rahul Bheke and Gurwinder Singh. His thundering shot in the 38th minute could have easily found the back of the net had it been a yard to the right or left of Bywater.

It was Norde once again who had the last shot of the first half which saw both teams heading in at the break all square.

Kerala Blaster’s manager Peter Taylor replaced Manandeep Singh with Ishfaq Ahmed while Mumbai City FC’s marquee player cum coach Nicolas Anelka bought on Ashutosh Mehta and Selim Benachour for Aitor Fernandez Lopez and Thangjam Singh.

Subhash Singh came close to scoring for Mumbai City FC on 54th minute. The striker produced some tidy footwork and tested Kerala’s keeper with the effort that followed.

Substitute Sanchez Watt, who came on in the 72nd minute for Kerala Blasters, had their best opportunity ten minutes after his introduction. The Englishman should have put his side in front, a heavy touch allowed Mumbai’s keeper to close him down and kill the attack.

Mumbai substitute Frederic Piquionne came closest to scoring two minutes later when his shot thudded against the Kerala goalpost. Both side’s substitutions were starting to leave their mark on the game as fresh legs were clearly making their presence felt in the sweltering heat of Kerala.

Mumbai City FC should have won a penalty in the final minute of the game when Gurwinder Singh barged into the back of Frederic Piquionne who was trying to get on the end of a cross. Mumbai City were unfortunate that the referee

For his impressive performance, Mumbai City FC’s Subhash Singh was named “Hero of the Match” award.

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