Late drama at the Saltlake Stadium after both teams scored late goals to share a point each. Roy Krishna’s equaliser in time after stoppage time robbed a point off the Islanders’ after Serge Kevyn had given Mumbai City FC a 92nd minute lead. Mumbai City FC’s unbeaten run away from home extends now to four games this season.
The game started in a slow manner after most of it was played in the midfield. The goalkeepers from both sides did not have to make any significant saves. Both teams made some rash tackles to slow down the game that was threatening to boil over.
Subhasish Bose got booked for a rash challenge on Edu Garcia that left him bandaged on his head for the rest of the match. Diego Carlos and Modou Sougou were electric on the wings and put in some great crosses. There were quite a few scuffles on the field after Amine Chermiti clashed with Roy Krishna. The tension on the field was palpable but was eventually calmed down.
With no clear-cut chances, the first half was threatening to go goalless until Edu Garcia’s pass was met by Soosai and his finish gave ATK the lead on the 38th minute. The winger caught Souvik Chakraborti off guard, making a run behind the full back and curling in a finish at the far post. The first half ended with ATK going into the dugout the happier side.
The second half began with The Islanders beginning on the positive note but it was rather anticlimactic when Diego Carlos’ night ended early after he had to come off due to a groin injury. Serge Kevyn replaced the Brazilian and showed instant flashes of lightning quick pace.
The Gabonese forward popped up into perfect areas to set up the other Islanders. Paulo Machado and Rowllin Borges won a lot of loose balls and were constantly spraying out passes to the wings where Sougou and Kevyn were waiting to use their pace.
The big moment came when Mohamed Larbi’s inch-perfect corner was met by Pratik Chaudhari who rose higher than everyone else and headed it into the net in the 62nd minute. It was Serge Kevyn’s play that led the ball out for a corner in the first place. It was Larbi’s third assist of this season and also Pratik’s first ever goal for Mumbai City FC.
Another big moment came in the match when Amrinder punched the ball straight to Soosai who skied it from considerable distance, giving the Islanders some respite. Soon after, Modou Sougou also had a big chance but the club’s record goalscorer smashed the ball over the bar.
Serge Kevyn was in the thick of the action as he put in a perfect looping cross to Larbi who had an open goal at his mercy but the Tunisian skied it over the bar. In the follow through to his challenge on Amine Chermiti, ATK’s Carl McHugh rolled over his ankle rather painfully and was replaced by Agus Garcia. McHugh’s departure unsettled the home side, giving the Islanders plenty of space to utilise.
The Islanders almost undid all the good work of the game after Pratik headed it behind to a charging Amrinder to leave an open goal but the ball went wide leaving both the players relieved. It was a hotly contested game as Serge Kevyn was booked for a tackle on Anas and then he clashed with the ATK players only to be separated by Jorge Costa and Antonio Lopez Habas.
Jorge Costa made a change as Bipin came on for Larbi in the dying minutes of the game. Bipin was straight in the action as he combined with Amine Chermiti to put in a perfect low pass across the face of the goal in the 93rd minute to pick out a waiting Serge Kevyn and the Gabonese scored his first Hero ISL goal with a thumping finish. Celebrations followed what seemed to be the winner with Kevyn mimicking Paulo’s famous Moustaki Walk!
In the time added on after the stoppage time, the Islanders could not deal with a long ball which came off Sarthak’s head straight onto Roy Krishna’s better foot. The Fiji international could not have had better luck and smashed it through Amrinder’s legs from point blank range into the back of the net for a dramatic equaliser.
In the end, the Islanders come back with a solitary point on a night that could have ended very differently.
Mumbai City FC return home to the Mumbai Football Arena when they host Kerala Blasters for the second time this season on Thursday, December 5 at 7.30pm.