Mumbai FC goalkeeper Nidhin Lal restricts dominant Bengaluru FC to 1-1 draw
Mumbai: Bengaluru FC played out a 1-1 draw in a match they deserved to win after a man of the match performance from Mumbai FC 'keeper Nidhin Lal denied the Blues victory at the Cooperage Stadium, in Mumbai, on Tuesday. Eugeneson Lyngdoh gave Bengaluru FC a much-deserved lead with a peach of a strike in the 31st minute but his goal was cancelled out by a header from Mumbai striker Josimar Da Silva on the other side of the break.
Bengaluru started from the word go with shots from Lyngdoh and Beikhokhei Beingaichho saved by the stubborn Lal in the opening stages of the game. Ashley Westwood's men had their best chance to break the deadlock when left-back Keegan Pereira's pass forward was controlled well by Sean Rooney in the box. The Australian, off the back of two-goal performance against Sporting Clube de Goa, managed to turn his marker and get a shot away, only to see it palmed away by Lal.
Just past the half hour mark, a touch of class from Lyngdoh was able to finally shake the Mumbai net. Getting on the end of a long ball, Rooney controlled well and passed back to Lyngdoh, who wrapped his foot around the ball to send it curling into the frame. In doing so, the 28-year-old added another spectacular goal to his kitty with a strike that even the on song Lal couldn't keep out.
Lal heroics deny Bengaluru
Having claimed a well deserved lead, Bengaluru were relentless in their pursuit of a second goal. Moments later, Rino Anto's deflected cross fell to the path of BFC skipper Sunil Chhetri, whose pile-driver of an effort seemed destined to hit the net but for Lal's fingertips yet again.
The Blues started the second half with similar intensity but it was the home side that took the lead against the run of play. Mumbai defender Ashutosh Mehta curled a ball into the Blues area that was headed past a hapless BFC 'keeper Lalthuammawia Ralte.
Bengaluru, urged by their travelling support, sent in attack after attack only to see them thwarted away by Lal one after the other. Past the hour mark and looking healthy in possession once again, Beikhokhei sent a curling ball into a dangerous area but Chhetri's diving header was collected by the Mumbai custodian.
But, perhaps the Blues' best opportunity of the second half came in injury time when defender Curtis Osano ran out his half to win the visitors a free-kick in a dangerous area. With seconds left, Pereira sent in another searching ball that was met by a thumping header from Rooney. As was the case for most parts of the game, a diving save from Lal dented the Australian’s hopes of scoring the winner and with it denied the Blues a second consecutive win away from home.
BFC next travel to Indonesia where they face Warriors FC on March 10 in the second group game of the AFC Cup.