ISL 2019-20: Mumbai's Jorge Costa says football is not ballet, rues missed chances against Chennaiyin
A failure to take their chances saw Mumbai City FC settle for a point against Chennaiyin FC on Sunday in the Indian Super League as their game ended in a 0-0 draw. The point takes Mumbai joint-top of the league along with NorthEast United FC on four points.
After withstanding an opening flurry from the home side, the Islanders settled into the game well but will be left disappointed having emerged from the game without a win. Some guilt-edged chances went begging that could have given them another away win and kept their perfect start to the season intact.
Their first big chance came in the 24th minute when a bad back-pass from Chennaiyin's Edwin Vanspaul left Amine Chermiti one-on-one with the keeper but the his lob went well over the goal. Three minutes later, the Tunisian had another chance, this time heading over from close range after a good cross from Diego Carlos.
In the 32nd minute, substitute Serge Kevyn probably had the best chance of the match when Rowllin Borges sent him through with a delightful ball over the Chennaiyin defence. However, the Mumbai forward ended up slipping and fluffed his finish with just the keeper to beat.
Mumbai City head coach Jorge Costa was left disappointed with his team's profligacy in front of goal and reflected on what was an entertaining game of football despite the scoreline.
"Unfortunately, the game finished 0-0. We had a good game and several chances to score. Chennaiyin also had chances to score. Unfortunately, for the fans, nobody scored. This game deserved more than 0-0".
"It was a second away game for us. But I am happy for the players. We fought and tried to play good. Two games, four points is not bad."
For the second game running however, Mumbai City had to contend with injuries to key players. Moudou Sougou, who didn't start at Kerala Blasters before coming on as a substitute late in the first half, started against Chennaiyin on Sunday. Sadly, he could only stay on for 24 minutes and had to be replaced by Kevyn. Paulo Machado, who Sougou replaced in the first match, also wasn't fit enough to start but made an appearance from the bench in the second half.
Asked about the injury situation, Costa said,
"Good thing is I have a team. With the problems we had with important players, and still the players are working hard."
"Sougou was coming back after an injury. We thought he would be okay for this game. Unfortunately it seems to be a repeat of the old injury. Machado is having some problems. Grgic will be out for a few weeks. Anwar Ali is also an issue. But as I have been saying from the start, I don't have a first XI, but I have 25 players who I can play at any time, so that is good".
Mumbai were on the receiving end in terms of bookings today, receiving five yellow cards and a red for Shouvik Chakrabarti, who was sent off for two yellows. One of the yellow cards was to Costa after he threw a ball away on the touchline late in the game.
Asked if he thought the cards were a bit excessive, Costa summed up his thoughts with a blunt response -
"Football is not ballet; in ballet you can't touch people, but in football there will be contact. Five yellow cards today, one for me. This is what we have, but we have to face these kinds of situations."
Costa said his focus would now be on recovery of the players and admitted that while he would have liked the win, the fact that his team has created plenty of chances in the two away games has given him lot of positives.
"We had two very difficult games. But I’m very happy with the players. Yes, we did not score today but we had chances. I would be worried if we did not create chances in the 90 minutes. But we are playing well and we are creating chances".
Mumbai City next play Odisha FC at home on Thursday in what will be their first home game of the season.