An in-form Mumbai FC was held to a 1-1 draw by Mohun Bagan in an I-League Round 14 encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Striker Mohammed Rafi (10th minute) gave Mumbai FC an early lead in the first half. However a goal in the final ten minutes of the second half by substitute C.S. Sabeeth (80th) denied Mumbai FC a third consecutive win.
With this draw, Mumbai FC are now unbeaten in four games. With both sides having 15 points each, Mumbai FC currently occupies eighth place behind Mohun Bagan (7th) on head to head.
Coach Khalid Jamil went into the game fielding the same playing XI that won the Maha-Derby four days back.
The hosts created their first chance in the 3rd minute when Christopher Chizoba fed Ram Malik with a sublime pass over the Mumbai FC defense, but a horrible first touch from the starlet saw the move break down and the ball went out for a goal-kick.
At the other end, it was Mumbai FC who opened scoring in the 10th minute. Nicholas Rodrigues’ corner-kick from the right was headed inside the box by defender Anwar Ali and the ball fell for Rafi. The striker, completely unmarked six yards from goal, unleashed a side volley that gave Sandip Nandy no chance.
Six minutes later, Mumbai FC once again went close. Striker Yusif Yakubu played a neat one-two with Rafi and let fly. But his tame effort was saved by Nandy.
After a number of half-chances at either end, Mohun Bagan had their best chance midway through the half. Medio Manish Bhargav, with acres of space to work, saw his hesistant shot blocked by defender Sandesh Jhingan.
Into the final minutes of the half, Mumbai FC survived a close chance. An advanced keeper Nidhin Lal was beaten after Manish lobbed a ball over him only to go wide as Mumbai FC took their slender one goal lead into the break.
Mumbai FC kept on pushing forward on the break but finishing in the final third let them down. The strike-pair of Yakubu and Rafi went close on several occasions but the Bagan defense was alert to clear the dangers.
With only ten minutes of regulation time remaining, Mohun Bagan managed to level scores. After receiving a pass from Denson Devadas, substitute Sabeeth – on for Malik – dribbled past a number of Mumbai FC players including the goalkeeper and calmly slotted the ball home.
Mumbai FC kept on pressing for the winner in the final few minutes but the hosts held on for a draw.