Mumbai City FC picked up a hard-fought point against Chennaiyin FC to make it 4 points from the first 2 away games. Both sides had a fair number of chances to score but couldn’t convert as the game ended goalless at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Souvik Chakrabarti was sent off right at the end with a second yellow card, ending the game with 10-men.
Chennaiyin FC nearly got off to a perfect start with Rafael Crivellaro pouncing onto a loose ball. His effort was on target but Amrinder Singh made an excellent diving save to deny the home side.
The Brazilian Crivellaro came close once again in the 11th minute after he went past Rowllin Borges and went for a curling shot but it went just over the bar. The home side were off to a very quick start with Jorge Costa’s boys taking time to settle in. In the very next attack, Dragos Firtulescu found Lallianzuala Chhangte in the box with a lovely ball over the top. Chhangte went for goal but Amrinder made a good save and with the goal gaping, Crivellaro put his shot off target.
The Islanders were dealt with yet another injury setback after Modou Sougou pulled his hamstring as he tried to control the ball inside the box. He came back on the field after a couple of minutes but couldn’t continue due to his injury and was replaced by Serge Kevyn at the 24th-minute mark.
While the home side had their chances, the first big opportunity for the Islanders came in the 25th minute. Amine Chermiti latched onto a poor back pass and went one on one with the Vishal Kaith off his line, he tried to chip him but his effort was way over the goal.
In the following attack for the away side, Chermiti had another chance to score. Raynier put in a cross from the right flank with Chermiti getting past his marker but somehow his diving header didn’t go in the back of the net. Soon after, Raynier Fernandes got himself into the referee’s book for a nasty challenge on Anirudh Thapa.
Just past the half an hour mark, Rowllin Borges came up with a brilliant lofted ball to find Kevyn’s run who did well to beat the offside trap. But, the Islanders' No.7 didn’t show enough composure and put his shot wide of the far post. The Islanders got 3 good chances in the space of 10 minutes but their finishing wasn’t upto the mark. Borges was the second player to be booked in the first half.
In the 35th minute, Larbi attempted a smart free-kick as he chipped the ball over the wall but it went a little away from Chermiti. Slowly, the away side was dominating after the initial charge by Chennaiyin FC. Diego Carlos came close to scoring next after unleashing a powerful shot but it was parried away by Kaith. The home side had another chance after Chhangte cut inside from the left side and went for goal. His effort was comfortably saved by Amrinder. It remained goalless after the first 45 minutes.
The next 45 minutes began at the same pace with the home side starting positively once again. Souvik was the third Islander to be booked for a foul on Chhangte. Chennaiyin captain and former Islander, Lucian Goian had a chance to score but his shot didn’t trouble Amrinder. Once again, Chhangte was the creator and causing trouble to the Islanders.
Goian's centre-back partner, Eli Sabia found himself unmarked from a deep free-kick. He made a run towards goal and took a shot from a tight angle to which Amrinder pushed it away for a corner. Mohamed Larbi was shown a yellow card in the 56th minute for simulation inside the CFC box.
With 62 minutes up on the clock, Paulo Machado came on for Raynier Fernandes as the Islanders searched for the opening goal. The magician showed instant impact as he opened up the Chennaiyin defence with a sublime pass to find Kevyn. The No.7 went for goal with a first time shot but Kaith made a good diving save down to his right.
Both sides looked to break the deadlock but the defences were doing their job to keep it 0-0. The home side looked likely to score in the last 10 minutes with Chhangte doing the damage again. He led a counter-attack after getting past a couple of players in the midfield. He sent a cross inside the box but Souvik did extremely well to head the danger away.
Just a couple of minutes later, substitute Nerijus Valskis went for goal but Sarthak Golui made a very important block to keep it away from Amrinder. In the last minute of added time, Souvik was shown a second yellow card after he brought Thoi Singh down who looked to break down the left side. In the end, neither side managed to convert the chances and shared the spoils.
Jorge Costa’s boys now have 4 points from their first 2 away games and will play ISL newcomers Odisha FC in our first home game of the season on 31st October at the Mumbai Football Arena.
Get your tickets to watch the Islanders LIVE here.