Mumbai City stages a comeback twice to salvage a 2-2 draw against Odisha
Jerry Mawihmingthanga gave the home side the lead at the stroke of half-time before Rostyn Griffiths equalized two minutes after the restart of play. Roy Krishna’s penalty was nullified by Jorge Pereyra Diaz as the Islanders came from behind twice to equalize the proceedings.
Riding high on momentum after beating Chennaiyin 2-0 in their season opener, Odisha coach Sergio Lobera made a solitary change to his starting line-up as Diego Mauricio was rewarded for his goal from the bench as he replaced Roy Krisha upfront.
Tiri replaced Mehtab Singh in the Mumbai City side that beat NorthEast United 2-1 and to comply with the rules of four overseas players in the line-up, Yoell van Nieff made way for Vinit Rai.
After a quiet start, Mauricio played a through ball towards Isak Vanlalruatfela on the left flank in a counter-attack in the 15th minute. The diminutive Mizo winger cut inside the box and laid an aerial crossfield pass towards Jerry Mawia on the right flank. However, Tiri stuck his boot out and Nawaz held on to the ball to deny the goal.
Greg Stewart skedaddled through the middle of the pitch past a couple of Odisha defenders before being fouled by Carlos Delgado in the 42nd minute. The Scotsman stepped up to take the free-kick but his shot from 25 yards away dipped a bit late and sailed inches above the top corner.
Mauricio made a dangerous-looking run in the 42nd minute through the left flank but before he could pull the trigger, Griffiths slid a lunging tackle to keep the ball out of play. Odisha’s persistent attack finally bore fruits before the half-time break.
Nawaz spilt Mishra’s back pass and Jerry pounced like a vulture to blast the ball over the goal line from a hand-shaking distance. The home side went into the tunnel with a 1-0 lead to the delight of the fans.
Mumbai City started the second half on a positive note with Delgado blocking Vinit Rai’s shot from inside the box. The Islanders made the resultant corner kick count by getting a goal back.
Poor marking from Odisha resulted in Griffiths’ run from blindside as Stewart curled the ball in towards the penalty spot. The Australian’s looping header hit the inside of the crossbar before bulging the net in the 47th minute.
Nawaz’s goal-kick in the 58th minute eluded everyone and the ball fell straight towards Stewart in the final third. The 33-year-old drilled a low shot towards the near post with his first touch but Odisha custodian Amrinder Singh had his lines covered and saved the goal.
Mumbai got another opportunity to take the lead in the 66th minute through a free-kick. Stewart’s swirling cross found Tiri at the far post. The Spaniard headed the ball downwards but both Rahul Bheke and Diaz failed to connect it in front of an empty goal.
Stewart continued to pose threats with his free-kicks in the 73rd minute. This time Bheke angled his header towards the goal but Amrinder palmed it away. Chhangte took a first-time shot on the rebound but shot the ball straight towards the gut of the India international.
Two minutes later, Odisha’s Ahmed Jahouh made a grounded pass towards substitute Roy Krishna from a free-kick. Nawaz brought him down inside the box and the referee pointed towards the spot. The Fijian blasted the ball into the bottom corner as Nawaz dived the wrong way.
Just when it seemed that Odisha would walk away with a win, Buckingham’s side equalized in the 88th minute of the match. Substitute Vikram Pratap Singh made a lung-bursting run through the right flank and placed his cross between the two central defenders Amey Ranawade and Mourtada Fall. Jorge Pereyra Diaz sneaked in between them to nod the ball home leaving Amrinder helpless in goal.
The match finished with a 2-2 scoreline as Mumbai City and Odisha shared the spoils in a highly entertaining affair. With the draw, both sides remain unbeaten early in the tournament with 4 points from 2 games.
Lobera’s side will now travel to Bangladesh to face Basundhara Kings in the AFC Cup group stage fixture. They will be bolstered by the return of Narender Gahlot and Aniket Jadhav who were on national duties in the Asian Games competition.
As far as Mumbai is concerned, they will travel to Uzbekistan to square off against Navbahor in the AFC Champions League. Gurkirat Singh will be available for the Islanders in the fixture as his stint with India in the Asian Games finished on Thursday.
In the ISL, Odisha will be away for the first time when they travel to the west coast to face Goa in the early evening fixture on 7th October while Mumbai City will be at home for the first time in this league season as they host Kerala Blasters on 8th October before the league takes a 12-day break for international fixtures.