Under interim boss Renedy Singh, SC East Bengal fought valiantly to hold defending champions Mumbai City FC to a 0-0. The 1 point was enough though to take the Islanders to the top of the table. Meanwhile, East Bengal languish at the bottom of the standings, having recorded 10 losses and going 14 games without a win.
Mumbai City had majority of the possession, had the better opportunities and recorded more attempts. However, the Red & Gold Brigade were solid in defense as they successfully shut out the opposition. The side from Kolkata mainly took to counter-attacks but lacked the finishing touch .
SC East Bengal 0-0 Mumbai City FC: The Game
Mumbai forward Igor Angulo initially tested the keeper with a header that was easily pushed away by Arindam Bhattacharja. Next up came Daniel Chima Chukwu. At the other end, the Nigerian fired in from close-range but his shot dragged narrowly wide past the post.
The Red & Gold Brigade woefully suffered an early setback. Joyner Lourenco had to be taken off after picking up a knock with Ankit Mukherjee called upon to replace him.
The first period saw both teams struggle to create any clear-cut scoring opportunities. Mumbai saw most of the ball. However, they were hardly afforded much space to play in a killer pass. With East Bengal putting up a strong defensive display, the two teams walked down the tunnel on level terms.
Mohammad Rafique came off the bench to replace Bikash Jairu after the break. Just a couple minutes post the restart, the referee brushed away convincing appeals for a penalty from Mumbai City players. Apparently, Adil Khan looked like he had taken out Cassio Gabriel in the area. Soon after, the Brazilian went on to blast in a long-range effort which Bhattacharya pushed away with a certain assertiveness. A long-range effort from Ahmed Jahouh narrowly missed the target and left the Islander ruing once more.
Partnering up with Ygor Catatau, Vinit Rai made his debut in MCFC colors as Des Buckingham looked to energize his midfield. Unfortunately, Amarjit Singh Kiyam too came off with an injury, with Darren Sidoel being the replacement. The champions will be without Jahouh as he picked up another yellow card. This sees him ruled out for their upcoming fixture.
The closing stages of the game witnessed more resolute defending from the Red & Gold Brigade as they kept Mumbai at bay quite impressively. With 5 minutes added as stoppage time, Des Buckingham’s men gave one final push. They threw everything they had left at the opposition in a last ditch attempt but still failed to find the net. The two sides finally settled for a point each at the final whistle.
Mumbai City FC will face Bengaluru FC next at the PJN Stadium. Meanwhile SC East Bengal will lock horns with super-confident Jamshedpur FC at the Athletic Stadium.
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