Two penalty goals in either session of play helped Mumbai FC hold Salgaocar FC to a 2-2 draw and split points in the return match of the I-league played at Tilak maidan, Vasco on Saturday.
The match, which was expected to see some fire power, failed to excite the 4000 odd crowd who initially believed that it was Salgaocar’s day today as the former champions went into the lead in the 23rd minute of play when medio Jackichand Singh let go a powerful shot to the right of Mumbai FC’s keeper Pawan Kumar.
It was defender Reagan Singh who initiated an excellent move as he sent a long lob to Jackichand Singh who trapped the ball and then sent in a rocket like effort to give Salgaocar FC the lead.
The goal surely provided the much need tonic for the Goan outfit who then began to stitch some good moves but only for a while as the Mumbai team began to find their rhythm slowly.
Though attacks were not initially visible from the Mumbaikars, they slowly picked up momentum and tried to beat the Salgacoar defence on the counter. However, central defender Leny Levis Pereira stood like a rock and did not allow the Mumbai FC’s fleet footed striker Sushuil Kumar Singh have a free flow . Levy blocked him well along with other defenders like Reagan Singh, Keenan Almeida and Eder Fernandes. But the steadiest amongst all these defenders was Eder who stood cool to quell some of the dangerous forays that the Mumbai FC team made not only in the first half but also in the second session of play.
Salgaocar’s striker Calvin Mbarga created some forays but they were not good enough to create real trouble for the Mumbai FC defence consisting of Pratick Prabhakar Chowdary, Anwar Ali, Ashutosh Mehta, and Allan Dias who came in place of Clifford Miranda later on into the game.
It was Mumbai FC’s captain Eric Brown who created panick in the rank and file of Salgacoar team, everytime he came in possession of the ball, and had a few decent tries in either session of play, which missed the mark narrowly.
Mumbai FC levelled the score in the first half when defender Regan Singh brought down mercurial striker Sushil Kumar Singh inviting a call for a penalty which Sushil Kumar himself shot past Karanjit Singh.
Jackichand Singh could have done much better for Salgacoar team but he preferred to go for glory all by himself. Instead of releasing the ball quickly –when his colleagues were seen in good position of scoring. He seemed to be entering the ‘clouds’ at times and glittering on the other occasions but failed to give his shine all the while.
Mumbai FC improved their game by a few notches in the second session with Salgaocar FC failing to step up more pressure against their opponents.
When the second session was hardly 49 minutes old, substitute Brian Mascarenhas scored a great goal as his 30-yard floater stealthily entered the far corner of the nets without giving any inkling of him, finding the mark.
However, Mumbai FC once again proved to be lucky as the referee Animesh Biswas prefereed to penalize the Salgaocar FC team by awarding a penalty as in a goal mouth melee the ball hit a defender’s hands. It was surely not the case of the defender deliberately handling the ball.
Ryuki Kozawa, who stepped up to shoot in, slammed the ball to the far end of the nets (2-2) to split points.