ISL 2017/18: Why Mumbai City FC had a strong shout for a free-kick when Iain Hume scored for Kerala Blasters
Kerala Blasters took a crucial 1-0 lead through yet another Iain Hume goal, as the Canadian striker slipped away from the Mumbai City FC defence, and calmly slotted it past a dismayed Amrinder Singh.
This goal truly marked the change in fortunes of Kerala Blasters under newly-appointed manager David James.
The Blasters did manage to get their second win on the trot with a 1-0 scoreline at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday night.
But was the goal legitimate?
The Mumbai City FC players protested vehemently, but referee Pranjal Banerjee stood by his decision of awarding the goal in the 24th minute.
There were a number of incidents in the lead-up to the goal, that could have seen the referee give the decision the other way. Right from the tussle between Gerson Vieira and Mark Sifneos, to Courage Pekuson's hastily-taken free kick, and finally Iain Hume's positioning, that raised doubts about whether Kerela deserved the goal.
Despite the fact that the goal was given, Mumbai actually can stake a couple of strong claims against the goal.
Referee Banerjee had originally awarded the free kick to the Blasters, as Pekuson decided it quickly, catching the Mumbai defence off-guard. While there is nothing wrong with a hastily-taken free kick, the manner is which it was taken, could be questioned in this context.
Firstly, the ball was still rolling, when the 23-year-old barely touched it with his hand and played it through to Hume. The laws of football state that the ball must be dead, before a legitimate free kick can be taken.
To add to that, the ball had rolled a fair distance ahead of the spot where Sifneos was fouled, giving an undue advantage to the Kerala Blasters, and thereby providing more wind to Mumbai's argument about a free kick in their favour.
There was a third factor that could have ruled out Hume's goal.
The above picture suggests that the Canadian striker may have been offside when Pekuson had played the ball through to him. However, this is still subject to personal opinion, and it looked like a touch-and-go decision.
Despite that, the manner in which Kerala took the free-kick that led to the goal could lead to a lot of questions, especially at a time when the ISL referees are coming under the scanner every other day.