Needless defending in later part of the second half, to protect their 1-0 lead, boomeranged on Mumbai city FC on Tuesday. In the first session, the hosts played positive football in their third match of 2016 Hero ISL season against Atletico de Kolkata and led 1-0 until 10 minutes from close. They almost made it three wins in as many matches but first; they lost Pranoy Halder for collecting the second yellow card and next, they indulged in reshuffling the ball in their own area to pass time. Kolkata took full advantage of the 10-men Mumbai team and their complacent football and found the equalizer in 82nd minute as the match ended as a drawn game.
Riding on their winning streak of the first two matches of 2016 Hero Indian Super League, Mumbai City FC began on an offensive note in their home game against the visitors from Bengal. A gathering of nearly 8000 spectators in the Mumbai Football Arena was thoroughly entertained as both sides produced a remarkably fast-paced game. Mumbai got their first scoring chance in the 2nd minute itself but a distant but powerful attempt by Leo Costa sailed over the crossbar. Not to be outdone, Atletico de Kolkata also responded with an effort of their own in the 5th minute after a nicely coordinated display by their forwards. Juan Belencoso managed to send a lovely pass for Iain Hume. In turn, the Canadian relayed the ball to Sameehg Doutie. However, Doutie’s shot lacked the requisite power and MCFC goalkeeper Roberto Volpato didn’t have any problems in affecting the save. MCFC came close to scoring once more in the 12th minute but the powerfully struck left-footer from Boithang Haokip just rattled the side bar and bounced away. However, Mumbai didn’t have to wait too long for the lead. In 27th minute, MCFC’s star forward Matias Defederico picked a ball near the center line and ran quickly towards ATK goal. On his way, he evaded two defenders before unleashing a thunderous drive from just outside the penalty box. ATK custodian Debjit Majumdar dived to save but the shot was too powerful for his reach as Mumbai went into a 1-0 lead. The tempo of the match went further up and both sides came up with goal scoring chances before the break. ATK could have equalized in the 41st minute, when Lara took a well-directed free-kick. Despite a valiant attempt, Belencoso’s header missed the target and MCFC kept their 1-0 lead at halftime.
After coming out in the second session, MCFC made a cardinal error by trying to protect their lead from the start. That helped ATK as they went for the offensive. With Lara, Doutie and Belencoso combining well, Mumbai’s goal came under threat. ATK got a promising chance in the 64th minute, when their captain Borja Fernandez pounced on a defensive error from Mumbai inside the box. Borja sent a powerful cross but Doutie couldn’t deflect the ball into the goal. Mumbai lost a man in the 72nd minute, when Pranoy Halder went for a rash tackle on Borja and the referee promptly raised the yellow card. It was second of the match for Halder and he had to leave the field. From this point onwards, ATK made the numbers’ advantage count for them and mounted serious attacks on Mumbai’s goal. By this time, Mumbai had gone completely into their shell and they kept shuffling and reshuffling the ball in their own area. Such action proved counter-productive since loss of possession was like giving free reign to the opponents. In the 82nd minute, Javi Lara forced himself into the box and fired powerfully. The ball got deflected as Jackichand Singh came in the way but looped out to the back of the net as ATK got the much-needed equalizer. MCFC’s complacent attitude provided another chance for ATK in the 87th minute, when Javi Lara’s corner found Tiri at the right spot but his header was cleared by the Mumbai custodian. In the end, MCFC had to settle for just one point.
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