Mumbai City climbs to the top of the table with a 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur

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Both teams settled for a point each in a gritty affair

Matchday 18 of the 2023-24 Indian Super League ended with a thrilling 1-1 draw between Jamshedpur and Mumbai City at the JRD Tata Sports Complex. Javier Siverio gave the Red Miners a lead in the game before Lallianzuala Chhangte equalised for the Islanders.

Jamshedpur head coach Khalid Jamil made two changes to this team that was defeated 0-3 by Mohun Bagan Super Giant. Muhammed Uvais replaced the injured Wungngayam Muirang while Rei Tachikawa was given a start in Siverio’s place.

On the other hand, Mumbai City head coach Petr Kratky made three changes to his starting XI after a 3-2 win against Punjab. Iker Guarrotxena missed out with an injury and was replaced by Vikram Partap Singh while Vinit Rai and Tiri came in place of Jayesh Rane and Rahul Bheke respectively.

The game had a pretty sedate start as it took seven minutes to get the first attempt. Imran Khan played out a lobbed ball for Mohammed Sanan on the left flank, who did well to pull the trigger but aimed his shot straight at Phurba Lachenpa under the sticks for Mumbai City.

It was then the visitors’ turn to test the Jamshedpur keeper TP Rehenesh. In the 8th and 11th minute, Chhangte tried to score the opener for his team but Rehenesh won both battles to keep the scoreline at 0-0.

Six minutes later, it was Jamshedpur on the prowl again. Imran played out a pass for Provat Lakra down the right flank who then did well to drill a low cross for Daniel Chima Chukwu but the Nigerian striker blasted his shot high.

The right-back had an excellent game and came close to scoring in the 26th minute. After a cross from the left flank was headed out by a player in blue, the rebound fell to Lakra who struck a venomous shot, but Lachenpa was equal to the task.

The game of roller-coaster continued as both teams had chances to take the lead in the first half itself. In the 40th minute, Vikram found Chhangte with an accurate pass by the latter’s shot was saved by Rehenesh for the third consecutive time.

Then in additional time, Lakra played a delightful one-two with Jeremy Manzorro before finding himself in acres of space down the right flank, but his shot was not on target. Vikram did keep his shot on target just a second before half-time, but Rehenesh was not to be beaten again as he tipped the ball onto the post with his fingertips.

Jamil brought on Siverio for Tachikawa at half-time and it turned out to be a brilliant substitution. In the 60th minute, Chukwu played out a ball for Sanan on the left flank, who then found Uvais. The left-back drilled an accurate pass for Siverio, who made no mistake in guiding his shot past Lachenpa.

Mumbai City then had chances of making an instant comeback. In the 63rd minute, Tiri laid off a header for Mehtab Singh from a corner, who could not find the target. Three minutes later, Noguera’s lobbed cross found Thaer Krouma who then placed a grounded cross for an unmarked Vikram, who could not find the target either.

But the equalizer finally came in the 74th minute. Bipin Singh played a chipped pass for Chhangte, who did amazingly well to blaze past his marker PC Laldinpuia to be one-on-one with Rehenesh. Chhangte then placed his shot to the right of Rehenesh, who did get fingertips to the ball again but this time could not prevent it from rolling into the back of the net.

The goal helped Mumbai City get on the front foot again, as the next few minutes were dominated by Kratky’s team. Noguera had a couple of chances – first in the 76th minute when he sold Manzorro for a dummy before launching a shot which narrowly missed the target, and then in the 80th minute when his shot was on target but saved by Rehenesh.

The drama was not only restricted to attempts as Chukwu was handed marching orders in the 82nd minute for a second yellow card which was dished out for a stomp on Yoell van Nieff.

Jeremy Manzorro had a great game for Jamshedpur

Despite being a man down, Jamshedpur could easily have sealed all three points as they had a glorious chance in the 88th minute when Manzorro played a superb through ball for Nikhil Barla who then found Siverio in handshaking distance from the goal but the East Bengal loanee could not test Lachenpa.

The Las Palmas graduate had another great opportunity in the 90th minute, this time from a Manzorro pass. However, he failed to hit the target once again. Mumbai City’s last attempt came in additional time when Apuia Ralte decided to go for glory from a long way out, but his attempt was not good enough to get a win for his team.  

As a footnote, it should also be noted that Jamshedpur replaced Imran with Alen Stevanovic after Chukwu was sent off. The Red Miners played the last four minutes of regulation time and injury time with only six Indians on the field as opposed to the seven that the rulebook says, and the Islanders have decided to lodge a complaint.

With this draw, Mumbai City climbed to the top of the points table with 36 points from 18 matches and the Islanders will now take on NorthEast United on Tuesday.

On the other hand, Jamshedpur remains in the 6th position in the league standings with 21 points from 19 matches and will now take on Kerala Blasters after the international break, on 30th March.