Match nos. 29th and 30th were two other interesting affairs despite the diversity in results. In another of their away games at Kochi on November 12, Mumbai City FC didn’t lose and earned one point. This has kept them together with Pune, who also have 11 points, but better goal difference means Pune is third and Mumbai fourth. On two top spots are Atletico de Kolkata and Chennaiyin FC with 12 points each but again goal-difference superiority allows ATK to remain no.1 in the points’ table. Both Mumbai and Kerala played with their hearts out but couldn’t convert the chances they got and the match ended goalless. On November 13, playing away from home, FC Goa resurrected themselves in amazing fashion inflicting an emphatic 4-1 defeat to hosts Delhi Dynamos in Delhi. This was the second time that Delhi lost to Goa this season and from seventh place they have now hit the rock bottom. Goa, who were lying at the bottom for a while, climbed one spot to take the seventh place.
It rained at Kochi on Wednesday but that didn’t affect the match between hosts Kerala Blasters and Mumbai City FC. Both teams came to the field after goalless draws; Mumbai City FC drew with FC Goa while Kerala Blasters had drawn with Delhi Dynamos. The two teams played out full 90 minutes but no goals could accrue during the regulation time. In spite of the weather, Kerala home supporters enthusiastically backed their heroes with drums, music and vociferous applause. It was an entertaining encounter with several close chances for both sides. Mumbai was lucky to come off with a clean sheet in another away game but Kerala’s inability to convert their chances must have disappointed their coach David James. The match started with Mumbai going into attack straightaway. In the fourth minute, Nicolas Anelka sent a through ball to Subhash Singh but Singh reached a bit too early to be ruled offside by the line judge. In a counter-attack, Kerala raided the Mumbai goal, when Pearson found skipper Penn Orji after quickly taking a free-kick. In turn, Orji sent a cross inside the box for Jhingan, who spoiled the chance with an off-the-target header. Kerala could have gone ahead in the next few minutes but Mumbai goalkeeper Subrata Paul made a brilliant save to a point-blank header from Milagres. After the fast-paced 30 minutes, the tempo of play slowed down and the teams began losing possession early. However, KB’s Orji brought the game alive by a super pass to Milagres but his header sailed over the crossbar. To Kerala’s credit, they succeeded in keeping Anelka well under check and despite some more attacks, the halftime score still remained 0-0.
The second half began with KB dominating the play but their poor finishing continued. There was a bit of panic for Mumbai, when a cross landed in front of the Mumbai goal but after a couple of aimless headers, Orji’s shot was way off the mark. Mumbai made the first change in 57th minute as Sushil Singh replaced Lalrindika Ralte and KB brought Iain Hume for skipper Oriji. The change made an impact as Hume sent a lovely through ball to Sabeeth but the cross from Sabeeth was missed by Milagres with Subrata Pal out of his position. With about 20 minutes remaining, Mumbai got a golden chance but Anelka’s header went inches off a lovely cross from Stohanzl. As the match drew to close, Mumbai had two more chances but the ball hit the post on both occasions. In the last ten minutes both teams pushed forward for the winner but could not succeed and the match ended in a goalless draw.
In Delhi, Goa played a lively match against the hosts. The first half was evenly poised with both sides’ defenders stopping the opponent forwards many times. Regardless, Goa looked a better side in attack but Delhi’s defense line of Anwar Ali and Wim Raymaekers stood firm against such attacks. In the 18th minute, however, Goa went into the lead through an indirect corner. After the Delhi goalkeeper Van Hout blocked a header from Peter Carvalho, Bengelloun shot the rebound in and Goa went ahead 1-0. The early goal livened up the pace of the game but no more goals could be scored before halftime.
Three minutes into the second half, Goa doubled the lead. Andre Santos took a floating free kick from right and Bengelloun jumped to his full height to send the header into the goal past the 6’7” tall Van Hout. In the 53rd minute, Ozbey was wrongly brought down by Van Hout and the ensuing penalty was nicely converted by Goa’s marquee man Robert Pires for his first goal in the tournament. In the 60th minute, Goa made it 4-0 after an attacking move that culminated in Ozbey hitting the target with precision. The consolation goal for Delhi came from a penalty in the 73rd minute after Debabrata Roy handled the ball in the box and DD’s dos Santos beat Goa goalkeeper Jan Seda. Despite pressure play in the remaining time, Delhi could not reduce the margin further.
Delhi will have to play much better, when they host Kerala on November 16 while Goa’s next match will be in Mumbai on November 17.