Mumbai City settles for a 0-0 draw against league leaders Goa
A high-profile clash between the two in-form sides in Matchday 10 remained neck-to-neck throughout the play as the Islanders shared points for the third time this season while the table-toppers crown of the Indian Super League remained in the Gaurs’ possession.
While naming his maiden ISL starting XI, Kratky did not attempt to bring a massive transition into the roster and opted for an unchanged lineup. The star duo of wingers Bipin Singh and Lallianzuala Chhangte once again failed to make it to the starting lineup.
Table-toppers Goa also avoided many changes into the victorious side which had triumphed in the previous three games before appearing for this home fixture. Manolo Marquez promoted Udanta Singh into the Gaurs’ starting lineup replacing the injured Rowllin Borges.
The play commenced on a flying note as both sides started making progressive moves in the initial minutes to earn the early edge. Goa settled down quickly as compared to their counterparts, controlling the ball possession and also countering the opposition’s attacks with an established defensive setup.
In a desperate attempt to break the chains, Greg Stewart registered the first shot for the visitors in the 10th minute which couldn’t create much trouble for the league leaders.
However, Victor Rodriguez’s movements in the final third and his offensive partnership with Noah Sadoui tested the defensive compactness of the visitors quite early. In one such move, the attacking duo almost pulled it off but it was the impeccable guard of Phurba Lachenpa who eventually saved Mumbaikars from Sadoui’s ferocious shot.
The Goan offense kept making moves throughout the first half but none of their created chances could turn into breakthroughs owing to the alert guardsmen of the Maharashtrian capital city. Despite dominating the ball possession, the Islanders returned to the dressing room for the half-time break without a single shot on target as the scoreline remained unaffected at 0-0.
As indicated during the pre-match interview, Petr Kratky made two changes in the hope of a refreshing approach for the second-half action. Lallianzuala Chhangte’s awaited substitution finally took place while the Dutch stalwart Yoell van Nieff graced the battlefield as the duo replaced Abdenasser El Khayati and Vinit Rai in the central midfield.
Chhangte brought a surge of energy into the offensive department of the Islanders as it took only a few minutes for the Mizo winger to get involved in an attack. A well-timed cross from the right flank by Vikram found the 26-year-old right in front of the goal; however, his low-headed attempt directly reached the hands of Arshdeep Singh at the other end.
On the other hand, the incapability of Goan attack in breaking the deadlock also forced Marquez to use substitution cards and he went on to pick Paulo Retre as his first change. When the majority of his attacking inmates were subbed off for the final minutes, youngster Boris Singh took charge and kept the diligent efforts on.
It was a game of two halves where both teams managed to steer the play in their favor in the respective half but none of them could capitalize on the opportunities. The Margao-based outfit started the match with an aggressive intent but gradually slowed down in front of a robust defense displayed by the Citizens as play ultimately came to an end on the final scoreline of 0-0.
Goa remains at the top of the table with 20 points from eight fixtures while Mumbai City sits comfortably in the fourth spot with 15 points from seven league matches as both sides will aim to continue their unbeaten streak.
The Gaurs will enjoy an 11-day break ahead of another high-voltage clash with Mohun Bagan Super Giant while the Sky Blues will be returning to the Matchday 10 battlefield to face East Bengal at home.