MUMBAI: Mumbai FC failed to score at home, third time this season, as Minerva Punjab FC take a point back home. The away side, Minerva Punjab are now on a six-match unbeaten streak. While frustration is exponentially surging in the Mumbai camp having failed to secure a win in last nine matches, debutants Minerva Punjab FC are gradually affirming their position in the national football ecosystem.
The visiting coach Surinder Singh made two changes to the side which defeated Churchill Brothers 5-4 in their last fixture on the road. Victor Amobi and Vinit Rai were sidelined to make way for Anirudh Thapa and Altamash Sayed in the starting eleven.
In the opposite dough out, under pressure coach Santosh Kashyap brought Pratesh Shirodkar and Nikhil Kadam into the frame.
The visitors seemed to pack the midfield with striker David Ngaihte battling alone up front, while Mumbai kept a flat front three when in possession, in the first 45 minutes.
During the first five minutes, Santosh Kashyap’s side seemed to have had another difficult evening – as Minerva Punjab began the match brightly, pushing Mumbai’s Kattimani into making a couple of early saves. But the hosts responded and came out strongly as the match progressed.
The hosts, having failed to score in the last three home matches, could not make most of the chances presented to its front three. Nikhil Kadam, who found his place in the starting eleven ahead of Brazilian Alex William Silva, proved to be the liveliest of the lot; as he combined well at times to exploit Minerva’s right flank on a number of occasions. Noticeably, Mumbai’s Afghani recruit Djelaludin Sharityar made some key passes from the back, finding Kadam free down the left side, on a couple of occasions.
At the start of the second half, Alex William Silva was introduced at the expense of Nikhil Kadam, as Santosh Kashyap made his first change in the match. But as the match crossed its hour mark, the Mumbai supporter’s club’s chants grew louder and louder in discontent with the scoreline still at 0-0.
In the final 20 minutes, the match became as open as ever with Mumbai committing men forward in desperation and a goal more importantly.
Whereas Minerva’s tactics remained largely similar as they maintained their discipline throughout. But despite the chances, neither side could break the deadlock.
Following the draw, Minerva sent out a strong message as they rose up to the sixth position with eleven points from as many matches. Mumbai FC plunge to the ninth spot with nine points playing same matches.