BENGALURU: After playing some impressive football, Chennaiyin FC deservedly managed to secure a point against Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League at the GMC Stadium on Monday. The game ended 1-1 as Mumbai took lead via Bartholomew Ogbeche (21’) but Esmael Goncalves (76’) penalty strike ensured both teams shared points.
Despite the draw, Mumbai have stretched their lead to six points at the top of the table with 30. The Marina Machans climb to fifth place with 16 points from 14 games.
In the lead up to the game, there were a lot of talks about how Chennaiyin were not able to find the back of the net. Their positive start showed that they were eager to change that record. They started the game on the front foot with Lallianzuala Chhangte long range shot testing the goalkeeper Arminder Singh, who had to make another save in the fourth minute as Esmael Goncalves came close.
A minute later, Mumbai also got a chance to break the deadlock, but Raynier Fernandes could not find the target after a good cross from Vignesh. And Mumbai, as expected enjoyed more of the ball, broke the deadlock with Ogbeche's header finding the back of the net after a brilliant delivery from Bipin Singh in the 21st minute.
That goal did not stop Chennaiyin, who were a threat while going forward. But the problem was their play in the final third, which let them down. The first 45 minutes, despite Mumbai’s lead and their dominant possession, was a level affair.
In the second half too, Chennaiyin did ask some questions to Mumbai’s defence, but they lacked creativity when it mattered most in the offensive end. However, one has to applaud the Islanders’ backline, which stood firm when pressurised as well. Even forward Ogbeche was helping his team while defending corners.
Mumbai almost doubled their lead but Ranawade’s left foot curler missed the goal by a whisker in the 65th minute. But, it was Chennaiyin, who drew level after an error from Ahmed Jahouh, who brought down a player inside the box, leading to a penalty, which was calmly slotted by Esmael in the 75th minute.
Both teams made some changes in the last 20 minutes, bringing on fresh legs, but neither team could score the winning goal.