Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters played out a 1-1 draw at Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday to extend their respective winless runs to six matches in the Indian Super League.
After a fairly dull first hour, the game came to life in the last fifteen minutes of the match. Messi Bouli gave the visitors the lead in the 75th minute much to the delight of the visiting fans only for Mumbai to respond two minutes later through Amine Chermiti, who restored parity.
In the first half, Kerala Blasters had started the game on the front foot passing the ball with confidence and bypassing the Mumbai press with relative ease.
The visitors almost made the pressure pay in the 25th minute when Bouli controlled a loose ball inside the box and unleashed an overhead kick. With the effort destined for the bottom corner, Amrinder dived low to his right to preserve parity in the contest.
The home side came into the game after the half-hour mark. Mohamed Larbi missed a great chance to put Mumbai in front in the 36th minute when he got under a Modou Sougou cross to head it over the crossbar from six yards out.
The duo was involved in creating another opening for the hosts with Larbi being the provider on this occasion. However, Sougou, who was in space on the edge of the box, couldn’t get enough power to trouble Rehenesh in the Kerala goal. No team could make the breakthrough as the referee drew the first half to a close that was shaded by the away side.
Mumbai upped their game in the second half and were almost rewarded on the hour mark when Larbi’s volley flew inches over the Kerala goal. However, just when it appeared that the game would fizzle out into a goalless draw, Kerala broke the deadlock fifteen minutes from time.
A weak tackle from Mumbai’s Sarthak Golui allowed Jeakson Singh a clear sight of goal inside the box but Amrinder did well to close down the angle and make the save. However, left-back Carneiro picked up the pieces before cutting it back for Bouli, who found the back of the net with a left-footed shot to give the visitors the lead.
However, their joy was short-lived as Mumbai equalised just two minutes later. Larbi’s header off a Sarthak cross was kept out by Rehenesh but Chermiti was alert to tap home the loose ball and bring Mumbai back in the game.
Both teams tried to break the deadlock in the final exchanges with Kerala substitute Halicharan Narzary forcing a save off Amrinder but no team could produce that moment of quality to win the game. With the point, Mumbai moved up a place into sixth while Kerala stayed eighth in the table.