Mumbai FC’s goalkeeper Nidhin Lal put up a world-class performance as Mumbai FC held on to a 1-1 draw against defending champions Bengaluru FC at the Cooperage Ground.
Bengaluru FC Dominate First Half, Eugeneson Lyngdoh Scores:
Sitting pretty at third place on the I League table, the Blues had to face Mumbai without Robin Singh. The Bengaluru FC striker missed out as he was serving his suspension.
A few minutes into the match, Bengaluru FC began to gain momentum. Their trademark long balls from John Johnson and Curtis Osano succeeded in creating problems for the Mumbai defensive unit consisting of Chika Wali and Justin Stephen. Sean Rooney was the beneficiary of the first chance of the game with 15 minutes gone when his effort was palmed over the bar by Nidhin Lal. A few minutes later, Bengaluru FC’s intentions were clear when Beikhokhei Beingaichho’s shot tested Lal.
The only goal of the half fell to a familiar face. With half a hour played, the impressive midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh found his name on the score sheet. Sean Rooney’s clever back pass found Lyngdoh, and the latter obliged as he smashed the ball past Nidhin Lal. Looking at the direction and the placement of the shot, it should have been a regulation save for Nidhin. But the immense power gave the Mumbai Custodian no chance.
Therefore, the first half concluded with a chance towards the end for skipper Sunil Chhetri. Despite leading by a solitary goal, the shooting stats depicted a different story. The Blues had 15 shots on target!
Nidhin Lal Keeps Bengaluru At Bay; Josimar Equalizes
An inspiring pep talk from Khaild Jameel saw a new and rejuvenated Mumbai FC emerge from the tunnel into the grass of the Cooperage ground. Their pace and attacking intent took Bengaluru by surprise. Josimar Martins headed home the equalizer from an Ashutosh Mehta cross. Therefore, all was square with 49 minutes played.
The impressive Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Sean Rooney found themselves with prime chances to score the winner within the hour mark. Nidhin Lal pulled off some brilliant saves and denied the Bengaluru strikers the opportunity. With four minutes remaining, Ashley Westwood caved in and brought on CK Vineeth for Eugeneson Lyngdoh, the star of the show as far as the Blues were concerned.
The pacy winger however, failed to repay his manager’s faith in him as the Blues failed to find a winner. Therefore, the final score at the Cooperage read 1-1.
Despite ending in a stalemate, both managers will certainly be happy with a point. Bengaluru FC are now a point behind league leaders Pune FC. Khaild Jameel’s Mumbai FC move down to sixth position on the table, safely away from the dreaded relegation places.