Tenacious ten men of Mumbai FC hold Sporting Clube de Goa

Ten men Mumbai FC produced a superb second half display to hold Sporting Clube de Goa to a 2-2 draw in the Hero I-League game at Cooperage on Saturday evening. Sporting went ahead through a ninth minute goal from Mahmoud Al Amna, before Ryuki Kozawa cancelled the Syrian’s strike mid-way through the first half. In the second half, Jayesh Rane put the hosts ahead before Victorino Fernandes slammed home the equaliser for Sporting Clube de Goa.

Khalid Jamil rung in the changes as Sandeep Nandy made his Mumbai FC debut. Darren Caldeira, Rohit Mirza and Clyde Fernandes also came into the line-up. Mateus Costa too started with an attacking line-up that was led by the impressive Odafa.

The visitors got off to a great start when a crisp move in the 9th minute caught the Mumbai FC back four flat-footed. Odafa slid a clever through pass that was met by Al Amna inside the box, who made no mistake in slotting his shot past the hapless Sandeep Nandy as the Flaming Oranje drew first blood.

However, Sporting Clube de Goa didn’t make the most of the early momentum as a sloppy piece of defending gifted the home side a way back into the contest nine minutes later. Sporting Clube de Goa let a hopeful free kick from N.P. Pradeep bounce inside their box, thus allowing the industrious Ryuki Kozawa to sneak behind the Sporting central defenders and lob the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net to bring Mumbai FC level.

Mumbai FC were forced into a change when goalkeeper Sandeep Nandy had to be replaced by Pawan Kumar after the former suffered an injury post the half-hour mark. Mumbai FC who were enjoying more of the possession had to wait until the 42nd minute to get their second attempt on goal, when Eric Brown’s long range effort needed intervention from Arindam Bhattacharya.

However, the crucial moment of the came in first half stoppage time when Mumbai FC’s N.P. Pradeep received his marching orders after a second bookable offense. Pradeep had earlier fouled Odafa on the edge of the penalty area to earn his first booking.

Mumbai FC who were expected to shut up shop in the second half, surprisingly came out all guns blazing with substitute Jayesh Rane providing the hosts with some much needed energy. Eight minutes into the second half, Eric Brown’s lofted pass found Jayesh Rane completely free on the left hand side. The winger held his nerve well to coolly slot the ball between the legs of the Sporting goalkeeper and give Mumbai FC a surprise lead at the start of the second half.

Mateus Costa, whose side were jolted back to earth early in the second half sent on Victorino Fernandes in place of Al Amna and the substitute made an instant impact as he pulled Sporting Clube de Goa level with one of the easiest tap-ins on the hour mark.

Despite restoring parity, the visitors continued to look fragile and almost conceded to the ten men of Mumbai FC when an inward run from Jayesh Rane to meet Eric Brown’s pass created confusion in the Sporting rearguard that led to Loveday clearing off the line just two minutes after Sporting equalized.

Ten minutes later, Victorino Fernades missed a great chance to put Sporting Clube de Goa in front when he dragged his shot wide of the target. In the 80th minute, Ryuki Kozawa was inches away from handing Mumbai FC the advantage when his brilliant half-volley just evaded the target. However, at the other end, substitute Seriton Fernandes fired his shot wide after getting in a one on position.

Mumbai FC’s injuries woes compounded when Clyde Fernandes had to be stretched off in the dying minutes of the game, that forced Khalid Jamil to hand a debut to Syed Rahim Nabi who came in place of him.

Mumbai FC saw off the five additional minutes to earn a credible point with ten men to continue their unbeaten run at home. Sporting Clube de Goa would be disappointed not to have taken full points from the encounter despite having a numerical advantage for an entire half.



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