Mumbai FC hold East Bengal to a 0-0 draw
Mumbai FC and East Bengal played out a dull 0-0 draw at the Fatorda stadium Goa in a Group A encounter.
East Bengal approached the game with a target to bag all 3 points, to boost their chances to qualify to the semifinal stage of the Hero Federation Cup. Armando Colaco made two changes in the starting XI with Joachim Abranches replacing Lalrindika Ralte in the left flank. Club captain Harmanjot Singh Khabra came back from injury replacing an ineffective Raju Gaikwad in the left back position.
East Bengal dominated possession but failed to create goal scoring opportunities. Ranti Martins looked clueless throughout the first half. Dudu Omagbemi was the only player up front who tried his heart out to find the back of the net. Mumbai FC mostly depended on counter attacks against their mighty opponents. Their best chance came in the half hour mark when Josimar da Silva got a one-on-one opportunity to score. Subhashish yet again came to the rescue when he pulled off a brilliant save.
East Bengal’s Australian defender, Leo Bertos, played a pivotal role in the defence by denying the Mumbai attackers the chance to score goals.
Shylo Malswamatluanga replaced Cavin Lobo in the right flank in the second half. East Bengal kept on pressing in the attacking third but failed to bag goals. Mohammed Rafique’s inclusion later brought some finesse in the team’s attack.
Mumbai FC came back strongly in the later stages of the second half but the East Bengal goalkeeper performed his duties superbly. Fittingly Subhashish was awarded the Hero of the Match award as he single-handedly saved the Kolkata giants from defeat. Mehtab Hussain tried a long range in the dying moments of the match, but Mumbai FC custodian Kunal Sawant saved it brilliantly.
Tonight’s draw meant that East Bengal will now have to win their last game against Sporting Clube de Goa and await the other teams’ match results in order to hold a chance of qualifying to the next stage. Lack of combination up front will surely disappoint Armando Colaco who will have to boost his boys and inculcate spirit in the team’s performance.