Mumbai FC was held to a third consecutive 1-1 draw at home by United SC in an I-League 2013-14 Round-4 encounter at the Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune on Wednesday.
Striker CK Vineeth opened scoring for the visitors in the 16th minute before Mumbai FC new-signing Sandjar Ahmadi (20th min) equalised for the hosts four minutes later.
With this point, Mumbai FC stay in the 4th place still unbeaten with six points (4 games) while United SC stay 3rd in the table with seven points (4 games).
Coach Khalid Jamil opted to field the same starting XI which beat Churchill Brothers in the previous round.
The game burst into action inside two minutes when Vineeth did well to set up strike partner Ranti Martins. The Nigerian ran clear of his marker, defender Anwar Ali, to create space and shoot, only for the upright to deny him.
At the other end, Mumbai FC kept pressing and had medio Dane Pereira go over with his acrobatic overhead volley.
However it was the visitors who took the lead at the quarter hour mark. With almost the entire Mumbai FC team charging ahead on a corner, United SC medio Souvik Chakraborty won the ball in his half and set up Vineeth on a counter with a long ball. Vineeth held off challenges from two defenders before slotting home past ‘keeper Kunal Sawant.
The hosts equalised almost instantly with Ahmadi opening his account for Mumbai FC. Striker Orok Essien did well to get a shot from the left straight towards United SC custodian Sangram Mukherjee who managed to block. However the rebound fell for Ahmadi, cleverly timing his run to finish.
The goal spurred on the hosts who thereafter created chances aplenty. In the 24th minute, Essien saw shot saved by keeper after he controlled a clever lob pass from medio Ashutosh Mehta.
At the half hour mark, skipper Nicholas Rodrigues’ ambitious long range attempt was tipped over by Sangram for a corner. Defender Haroon Amiri’s header off Nicholas’s corner in the same move went agonisingly over.
In the final minutes of the first period, playmaker Climax Lawrence did well to capitalise on defender Bello Rasaq’s failed clearance, but Sangram produced a brilliant save to deny him.
Both teams went into the break tied at a goal-a-piece.
The second half was a different story with United SC finally coming out of their shell. Five minutes into the second period, Vineeth’s powerful shot was brilliantly palmed away to safety by Mumbai FC ‘keeper Kunal.
At the other end, Mumbai FC too kept pressing in search of their second goal. However poor coordination inside the final third let them down.
Into the final twenty minutes, Coach Jamil brought in medio Lalrin Chhana Tochhawng in place of Mehta.
However, both sides failed to find the net in the second half and the game ended 1-1.
Man of the Match: Sandjar Ahmadi