Kerala Blasters FC 0-1 Mumbai City FC - Hits & Flops | ISL 2019-20
erala Blasters were beaten 1-0 by Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi in match 5 of ISL 2019-20, thanks to Amine Chermiti's 82nd-minute goal that split the sides in what was an even contest, often bereft of any quality.
The game started at break-neck speed, with both sides intense in their pressing, and neither able to keep the ball. Mumbai should have had a penalty as early as the 5th minute, when Gianni Zuiverloon shoved Chermiti in the back, when the Tunisian was one-on-one with goalkeeper Bilal Khan, but referee Ajit Kumar Meitei was unmoved, as most ISL referees have been this season, even for things that have seemed like stonewall penalties.
In the end though, it was Chermiti who did the star turn in the 82nd minute, when a seemingly harmless Sauvik Chakrabarti cross was missed by both Jessel Carneiro and Jeakson Singh, to give the Tunisian the chance to swing his right boot at it.
And swing, he did, with a sweet strike into the bottom corner that left Bilal rooted to his spot. Kerala had a chance to sneak a draw right at the death but Bartholomew Ogbeche was denied by an absolutely world-class stop from Amrinder Singh.
Here's a look at the hits and flops from the game.
#1 Hit: Amine Chermiti
The Tunisian was definitely not the best he can be, but there were a good number of signs to point to just how good he can be for Mumbai City this season. He's got a stunning touch on him, his movement is intelligent, and as he showed with the winner, he knows the route to goal.
His intelligence coupled with Modou Sougou's pace and precision will cause trouble to a number of ISL teams this season.
In the 5th minute, Chermiti should have gotten a penalty but the referee denied him. And, it was all his own doing. With the outside of his left boot and on the run, he stopped dead a long punt forward from Subhasish Bose, and was bearing down on Bilal's goal when Zuiverloon. It still is baffling what the referee saw or didn't see, in this case.
But in the end, Chermiti had the last laugh, giving his side the three points.
#2 Flop: Sergio Cidoncha
Much was expected from Sergio Cidoncha at Kerala, after his move from Jamshedpur. More so, after the season he had for Jamshedpur before he got injured last term. But, on the evidence of his first two games for his new club, Cidoncha has shown little to be excited about.
Yes, one might say that Eelco Schattorie isn't using him optimally, allowing him to drop too deep, but Cido is experienced enough to know better. When he's dropping deep, he's obviously missing out on the pockets of space between the opposition midfield and defence, and that was the area in which he was so good last season.
He also gave the ball away far too often on the day. With Bartholomew Ogbeche around, you know he's going to score if you whip enough good balls into his area, but Cido's set-pieces were also consistently below-par.