Mumbai City and Goa settle for a 1-1 draw in a riveting clash

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Vikram Pratap Singh scored the opener for Mumbai City

In the third fixture of Matchday 17 of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season, Mumbai City played out a 1-1 draw against fellow title contenders Goa. Vikram Pratap Singh scored for the Islanders while Mohamad Yasir was on target for the Gaurs.

Despite his team defeating Chennaiyin 2-0 in the last match, Mumbai City head coach Petr Kratky made three changes to his team. Tiri, Jayesh Rane, and Bipin Singh started with Thaer Krouma, Apuia, and Lallianzuala Chhangte making way for the trio.

Goa head coach Manuel Marquez made four changes to his starting XI after a 2-4 drubbing against Kerala Blasters. Arshdeep Singh, Carl McHugh, Borja Herrera, and Udanta Singh were replaced by Dheeraj Singh, Paulo Retre, Carlos Martinez, and Boris Singh respectively.

The match had a brisk start as Mumbai City took only two minutes to register their first attempt. After drawing a foul in a dangerous position, Iker Guarrotxena struck a delightful free-kick but it was saved by the Goa goalkeeper Dheeraj.

It took the Gaurs 15 minutes to have their first shot on target. Rowllin Borges played out a ball for Martinez down the left flank, who did well to beat his marker Rahul Bheke and then launch a shot but Phurba Lachenpa was equal to the task under the Mumbai City goal.

In the 23rd minute, a ball from the deep found Vikram in acres of space down the left flank. The winger delivered a cross which should have been easily gathered by Dheeraj but the young custodian fumbled it and nearly presented Guarrotxena with a chance on the platter before making amends with his sharp reactions.

A minute later, it was Goa’s turn to come close to scoring as Noah Sadaoui launched a cross into the box which found Borges unmarked but the midfielder’s header struck the crossbar. From the ricochet, Martinez also had a chance to open the scoring but he blasted his shot wide.

The Islanders came close again in the 28th minute when Yoell van Nieff struck a superb shot from a distance but Dheeraj pulled off an extraordinary save to keep the scoreline at 0-0. From the corner, Guarrotxena had a chance to score but his header was not on target.

Having ended the first half on a high, it took Mumbai City only a few seconds in the second half to score the opener. Guarrotxena played a pass for Bipin down the right flank, who then launched a precise cross into the box. Although the cross missed the two Mumbai City attackers at the front post, Vikram was alert at the far post to tuck the ball home.

Mohammad Yasir got Goa back in the game

In the 61st minute, Martinez played out a pass for winter transfer window signing Yasir, who was a long way away from goal and had Bheke ahead of him. However, the attacker managed to drill a venomous shot through Bheke’s legs and beyond the reach of Phurba to bring his team back in the hunt.

The equalizer acted as a spring in Goa’s steps, who nearly took the lead of the game in the 63rd minute. Having scored already, Yasir turned the provider this time as he played out an accurate cross for Boris, who did well to get a shot in but could only rattle the crossbar. The rebound fell at Sadaoui’s feet who instead laid it off for Borges, but the midfielder struck his attempt straight at Phurba.

Mumbai City had their chances of reclaiming the lead as well, one of which came in the 72nd minute. Chhangte played out a cross for Ayush Chhikara from the right flank and while that was intercepted, the rebound fell on Alberto Noguera’s head. The Spaniard’s attempt, however, was saved by Dheeraj.

Only a minute later, Noguera had another chance to score against his former employers. After receiving a pass from Chhangte, van Nieff laid off a pass for Noguera who struck his shot wide.

Chhangte kept on pulling the strings for Kratky’s team after coming on as a substitute. In the 82nd minute, his pass found Guarrotxena in space but like Noguera, another former Goa player was wasteful in front of the Goa goal.

Against the run of play, Goa nearly sealed all three points in the 86th minute. Sadaoui headed down a cross from the right flank for substitute Herrera, whose initial attempt was blocked by Tiri. The ball then fell on the 2024 Super Cup winner’s feet again who struck another attempt, but this shot was tipped by Phurba onto the post.

Both teams had their fair share of chances in the latter stages. In the 87th minute, Gurkirat Singh tried his luck but had his shot saved by Dheeraj. Just two minutes later, Sadaoui got himself at the end of a Martinez cross but could not keep his header on target.

The last chance of the game came to Goa. After receiving a pass from left-back Jay Gupta, Herrera struck a shot despite being a long way out and nearly found the top corner, but Phurba came up with a stunning save to safeguard a point for the Islanders.

With this draw, Mumbai City remains in the second spot with 32 points from 16 matches. They will now take on Punjab on Saturday while Goa climbs to fourth with 29 points from 16 matches and will be up against East Bengal next Wednesday.