Jorge Pereyra Diaz helps Mumbai City earn a point against ATK Mohun Bagan

Mumbai City remains in pole position with a 1-1 draw

ATK Mohun Bagan was held to a 1-1 stalemate by Mumbai City in their second match at the 2022 Durand Cup. Liston Colaco scored the opening goal for the Mariners but Jorge Pereyra Diaz’s header helped the Islanders earn a crucial point.

Given the disappointment in their last match, ATK Mohun Bagan’s head coach Juan Ferrando was expected to make a host of changes and he did exactly that. New acquisition Vishal Kaith replaced Arsh Anwer Shaikh, while another new signing in Asish Rai was preferred ahead of Sumit Rathi. Besides that Kiyan Nassiri and Lalrinliana Hnamte made way for Deepak Tangri and Subhasish Bose.

On the other hand, Des Buckingham could have easily fielded an unchanged lineup, but he opted to make one tweak. Ahmed Jahouh replaced Diaz as the English tactician who took the defensive route against the Mariners.

It was indeed Ferrando’s men who had the better start and they could have opened the scoring in only the 2nd minute when Joni Kauko played a delightful through ball for Liston, but instead of the net, the winger’s effort struck the crossbar.

After repelling relentless attacks from the Mariners, Mumbai had their first chance in the 13th minute. With the attackers not proving to be useful, Apuia Ralte launched an effort from a long way out, but Kaith had no problems whatsoever in making the save.

It was then Kauko’s turn to try something similar, but his shot was not on target. Ten minutes later, Asish tried to show the ATK Mohun Bagan management why they took the correct decision by investing in him as he made a darting run before pulling the trigger, but his effort was not on target either.

Against the run of play, the Islanders had their first major opening around the half-hour mark. Alberto Noguera found Bipin Singh in a dangerous position inside the box, and while the latter’s effort was decent, it went narrowly wide. The Spaniard tried to go for glory himself only four minutes later, but once again, Kaith came to his team’s rescue.

The two missed opportunities proved to be costly as ATK Mohun Bagan eventually broke the ice in the 40th minute. Kauko made another defense-splitting pass which was met by Asish, and while the full-back could not find any of his teammates with his pass, Mumbai’s goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa failed to gather the ball cleanly. The rebound fell to Liston, and from that range, he was not going to miss.

Greg Stewart had an impressive outing for Mumbai City

Greg Stewart had an impressive outing for Mumbai City

Buckingham’s men, however, could have scored the equalizer in the first half itself. Greg Stewart played an inch-perfect pass for Bipin and the winger once again launched a fairly decent effort, but Kaith was up to the task this time around as well.

The initial phase of the second half did not produce any notable moments, with the Islanders struggling to breach Ferrando’s defense. It was in fact the Mariners who had the first big chance in the 65th minute.

After receiving a pass from Hugo Boumous, Manvir Singh pulled the trigger. Phurba was able to make a save, but yet again, the rebound fell very kindly for Liston. It seemed that he was bound to score the insurance goal, but unlike his first attempt, this shot was blocked by a player in sky blue. 

Six minutes later, Boumous was heavily involved again as his cross fell for Kiyan, but the youngster’s shot was off target.

Like what happened with the Islanders, the missed opportunities came back to haunt the Mariners as well. In the 74th minute, substitute Sanjeev Stalin launched a precise cross from the right flank, and another substitute Diaz met it with his head to bring back parity in the match.

Desperate to reclaim the lead, Liston had a couple of attempts, but his shots were either not on target or successfully blocked by Buckingham’s defenders. In the 88th minute, Stewart found Rostyn Griffiths with a cross but the Aussie’s header did not trouble Kaith.

The last chance of the match fell to the team from Kolkata in the 90th minute. Pritam Kotal played an accurate cross for Manvir inside the box, but as he has been consistently doing in this competition, the attacker from Punjab let the opportunity go begging.

ATK Mohun Bagan is struggling in the fourth position after this draw, with only one point to their name. They will now take on arch-rivals East Bengal in the much-awaited Kolkata Derby on 28th August. On the other hand, Mumbai City is still in pole position with 4 points, and they will clash with I-League’s Rajasthan United on 29th August.