Resolute Mumbai FC thwart East Bengal


Mumbai FC played out their second successive 0-0 draw in the Hero I-League as they kept a fluent East Bengal side at bay in the second half at Cooperage on Sunday evening. It was a tale of two halves, with Mumbai FC having the better of the first half before East Bengal dominating the second period.

As promised, Mumbai FC lined up in an attacking 4-4-1-1 formation with Sushil Kumar Singh leading the line, supported by Jayesh Rane who played in a free role behind the striker, coming in, in place of Asif Kottayil for this game. East Bengal on the other hand started with a similar formation which saw Ranti Martins take up the lone striker’s role with a front three of Bikash Jairu, Do-Dong Hyun and Sanju Pradhan supporting him, while Mehtab Hossain replaced the injured Sehnaj Singh.

The visitors were given an early scare when a dangerous Steven Dias corner went past the entire crowd of players, somehow evading a Mumbai FC head in the 5th minute. But there was more danger in store for the Red and Golds who were put under considerable pressure by Mumbai FC, especially from the set-pieces.

East Bengal’s goalkeeper Rehenesh TP was called into action in the 18th minute when Mumbai FC’s Eric Brown drilled an effort on target from a rather tight angle, which the East Bengal custodian did well to keep out, diving low to his left.

Brown again came close to putting Mumbai FC ion the lead six minutes later, when he smacked a left footed free-kick against the right hand side post, before Steven Dias put a looping header wide from the resulting play.

The game fizzled out post the half hour mark as neither side was able to hold on to the ball for enough time to create any kind of pressure, before referee P. Vairamuthu put an end to the first half with the game deadlocked at 0-0.

Khalid Jamil madea change at half time at the left back position where Clyde Fernandes made way for Srikanth Ramu, a move which saw Ashutosh Mehta switch to the left back position as Ramu slotted in at right back.

The change however seemed to have destabilized the Mumbai FC back four as a sweeping move from East Bengal in the 54th minute opened the Mumbai FC defense. Sanju Pradhan who was through on goal took too much time to pull the trigger, allowing Pratik Chaudhary to block Pradhan’s final shot on goal.

Nine minutes later, Pradhan once again found himself in acres of space inside the Mumbai FC box after having controlled a Robert Lalthlamuana cross from the right. But the East Bengal winger could only manage to fire his attempt wide.

The Kolkata outfit who were having the better of the second half, once again came close to making the breakthrough in the 72nd minute, when Do-Dong Hyun’s header went inches wide of the target.

Mumbai FC managed to stem the flow of East Bengal attacks after Khalid Jamil added an extra central midfielder in shape of N.P. Pradeep who came on for Steven Dias, but Mumbai FC struggled to conjure up any attacks of their own.

In the end, both the teams seemed content with a point and didn’t take the extra risk to win the game, ensuring the share of spoils in a tight encounter between two sides that failed to produce the fireworks which were expected of them.

The point saw East Bengal occupy the third spot, two points behind leaders Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC. Mumbai FC finished in the evening in the fourth spot with two points in their tally.




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