Sports

Mumbai fightback to beat Kerala Blasters 2-1

Mumbai fightback to beat Kerala Blasters 2-1
Adam Le Fondre of Mumbai City FC takes a penalty kick to score a gaol during the ISL match between Kerala Blasters FC and Mumbai City FC, Wednesday.
BAMBOLIM, FEB 3 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 2/3/2021 11:21:15 AM IST

Mumbai City bounced back from their shock defeat in the last round with a nervy 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters in their Indian Super League encounter at the GMC Bambolim Stadium on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, it was deja vu from Blasters who were leading 1-0 thanks to a Vicente Gomez goal (45), only to lose thanks to goals from Bipin Singh (46) and Adam le Fondre (67p).

Mumbai skipper Amrinder Singh made a staggering nine saves in the game to walk away with the man of the match award which told the story as the Islanders were pushed till the end.

The win sees Sergio Lobera’s side take a six-point lead at the point while Blasters’ top four hopes is vanishing with each passing game. They have now conceded 16 points from winning positions to languish at ninth in the table.  

Mumbai started the game strongly and were the dominant side in the early stages of the game. Their frontman Le Fondre had two glorious opportunities early on but couldn’t capitalize as Blasters looked shaky early on. Once the nerves settled, Blasters were the aggressors and caused Mumbai all sorts of problems with their high pressing and urgency. Despite not seeing much of the ball for the majority of the half, Blasters were dangerous every time they ventured forward.

Vicuna had decided to play only one striker up front with Jordan Murray leading the line and Gary Hooper dropping to the bench. Murray tested Amrinder with a stunning volley which was tipped over the bar for a corner. Blasters went onto take the lead from the subsequent corner which was beautifully swung in by Sahal Abdul Samad and met with a clean header from Vicente.

They could have scored a second when Murray’s angled shot was redirected to the post by Amrinder who was tested throughout the course of the half.

Mumbai had looked somewhat listless in the absence of Ahmed Jahouh while Hugo Boumous had a subdued half. Had it not been for Mumbai skipper Amrinder’s stunning saves, Blasters could have gone into half-time with a bigger lead than the 1-0 margin.

The game turned on its head in the second half as the defensive frailties that have plagued Blasters all season came back to haunt them. Mumbai equalised just one minute into the second half after Bipin Singh was on the end to turn the ball into the net after some scrappy defending from the Blasters defence.

The referee Rahul Kumar Gupta felt that Blasters centre-back Costa Nhamoinesu had impeded the run of Adam le Fondre when he was trying to receive a pass.

The Blasters dugout rose in frustration as they felt that another refereeing decision was going against them. The club had lodged an official complaint with the All India Football Federation on Tuesday and this would infuriate them even further. The English forward smashed the penalty past Albino Gomes to make it 2-1 in the 67th minute. There was a cagey end to the game as momentum swung between the sides but Mumbai eventually managed to grind it out.

Thurday’s Match

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Time: 7:30 PM

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