Mumbai FC hold Champions Mohun Bagan

Mumbai FC were held to a 0-0 draw by Champions Mohun Bagan in a Hero I-League encounter at Mumbai’s Cooperage stadium on Wednesday evening. It was a game of two halves, with Mumbai FC bossing the first, while Mohun Bagan being the better side in the second half. Mohun bagan would be slightly miffed with the draw after they missed two excellent chances to take all three points from the game.

Mumbai FC were without skipper Taisuke Matsugae who couldn’t recover from the injury sustained against DSK Shivajians. Khalid Jamil made a host of changes to his side to deal with the absence of the Japanese player. Anwar Ali started in central defence as Pratik Chaudhari moved up to play in midfield alongside N.P. Pradeep who came in for Malem Metei. Allan Dias replaced Ashutosh Mehta at left back.

Mohun Bagan Coach Sanjoy Sen named an unchanged eleven from the one that started the last league game.

The game seemed like a top of the table clash from the outset as Mumbai FC grew into the contest after an opening spell of Mohun Bagan pressure. Both teams were stroking the ball really well, but it wasn’t until the 15th minute that the game had its first attempt on goal. From a free kick that was taken short, Eric Brown let a scorching drive fly on the Mohun Bagan goal, Debjit Majumder who was alert to the danger was able to thwart the shot wide.

There was no shortage of intensity in the game and a crunching tackle from behind on Cornell Glenn saw Pratik Chaudhari go into the referee’s book in the 22nd minute. Six minutes later, Mumbai FC’s goalkeeper, pawan Kumar, produced a save from the top drawer when he palmed away a drilled twenty-five yarder from Bikramjeet Singh, who profited on Allan Dias’ loose clearance.

Mohun Bagan finished the half strongly, but gave Pawan Kumar very little to worry about as the first half ended goalless.

Mohun Bagan stepped the ante in the second half and put Mumbai FC under a bit of pressure. Mumbai FC’s Pratik Chaudhari was lucky to stay on the pitch after a late challenge of Yusa Katsumi around the hour mark as referee chose not to hand the Mumbai FC player a second yellow card. Khalid Jamil quite smartly replaced him for Asif Kottayil in the 65th minute.

Mohun Bagan missed a glorious chance to take the lead in the 69th minute when Yusa Katsumi beat the offside trap to get the goal-line and set-up Sony Norde for a tap in, but the Haitian somehow managed to strike his effort onto the upright as Mumbai FC were let off the hook.

Another chance went begging for the visitors in the 82nd minute when a sweeping counter-attacking resulted in Sony Norde putting Yusa Katsumi through on goal, but the Japanese midfielder fired his shot straight at Pawan Kumar.

Mumbai FC threatened to steal the game in the dying minutes with a couple of dangerous set-pieces, but Bagan defended well to earn a crucial point away from home.

The draw meant both sides fell further behind the pace as the Bengaluru FC registered a 4-1 win over DSK Shivajians to move to the top of the I-League table.

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