Ten-man Mumbai FC came from a goal down but were held to 1-1 draw by Rangdajied United in an I-League Round-15 encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Sunday.
Medio Yohei Iwasaki (19th minute) gave Rangdajied United an early lead before striker Yusif Yakubu (36th) equalised for Mumbai FC with a wonder-strike.
Mumbai FC were reduced to ten men after defender Sandesh Jhingan received a straight red card in the 88th minute.
With this point, Mumbai FC climbed up a place to eighth with 16 points while Rangdajied stay twelfth with 12 points.
The 1-1 result was Mumbai FC’s second in a row as they extended their unbeaten run to five games with two wins and three draws.
Coach Khalid Jamil made just one change to the squad starting Ahmad Hatifie in place of Anwar Ali.
Mumbai FC were forced to soak pressure in the early exchanges while being restricted to only a few counter attacks.
At the quarter hour mark, the hosts went close. Going on a solo from the midfield, striker Edmar Figueira breezed past two defenders to find Manandeep Singh inside the box. However, the Mumbai FC custodian Nidhin Lal was alert and he thwarted the attempt.
Four minutes later, the hosts took the lead through medio Yohei who headed in Munmun Lugun’s corner kick perfectly into the net.
Mumbai FC finally came out of their shell and went close at the other end. Winger Nicholas Rodrigues’ freekick from the edge of the box went inches over.
Thereafter, Mumbai FC kept on pushing ahead before a moment of brilliance from striker Yakubu brought them back into the game six minutes past the half-hour mark. The Ghanaian dribbled in past two defenders from the left flank before leaving Rangdajied ‘keeper Subrata Paul stunned as he scored his third goal of the season.
In the final minute of the half, striker Mohammed Rafi had his long range attempt blocked by Paul as both sides went into the break tied at 1-1.
Five minutes after restart, Mumbai FC went close. Nicholas did well to find Yakubu inside the box, but the striker was crowded out and the ball was cleared.
Midway through the half, the hosts went close after Edmar’s header on skipper Eugeneson Lyngdoh’s corner came off the crossbar. At the other end, Mumbai FC too were denied by the framework. Attacker N.P. Pradeep, on the solo, let fly from outside the box, but his effort agonisingly came off the vertical.
As Mumbai FC continued to push ahead in search of the winner, they suffered a blow when defender Sandesh was sent off two minutes from regulation time.
The hosts tried to make their one-man advantage count in the final minutes but Mumbai FC held on for the draw.
Man of the Match: Nidhin Lal (Mumbai FC)