The Islanders' second home game of the 2022/23 Indian Super League (ISL) season ended in a 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC. Des Buckingham's side went ahead early on thanks to Chhangte’s first goal of the 2022/23 ISL season. However, the Red Miners equalised swiftly and left the Islanders frustrated with a point at the Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri at the end of the night.
After a deserved win against Odisha FC, Coach Des Buckingham named an unchanged starting eleven. Phurba started in goal; Mehtab Singh partnered Rostyn Griffiths in central defence. They were flanked by Rahul Bheke and Sanjeev Stalin. Apuia Ralte was partnered by the dynamic and creative pair of Alberto Noguera and Ahmed Jahouh. Greg Stewart played upfront and was flanked by Lallianzuala Chhangte on the right, who was making his 100th appearance in the ISL. The electric Bipin Singh started on the left wing.
The Islanders started the game well, creating an opening very swiftly early in the game. In the 3rd minute, a counter attack led by Greg Stewart and Bipin Singh saw Stewart play the ball to Bipin out wide from the halfway line. Bipin carried the ball to the byline and put in an accurate cross to find Greg Stewart in the centre, whose header bounced kindly for the Jamshedpur FC keeper.
The fast start from Mumbai City FC was a signal of intent. In the 8th minute, the Islanders took the lead through Lallianzuala Chhangte, who scored his first goal of the 2022/23 ISL season. Noguera and Stewart combined well on the right side of the Jamshedpur FC box. Stewart was released into space in the penalty area, he then squared the ball to the centre to find an on-rushing Chhangte who poked the ball in to hand the Islanders a 1-0 lead early on in the game.
The Mumbai City FC players were pressing Jamshedpur FC with ease in midfield and were retaining the ball well from the restart. Jamshedpur FC were trying to dominate the Islanders physically and against the run of play the Men Of Steel equalised. A long throw-in by Wellington from the left in the 12th minute was flicked on by Sawyer at the front post. Daniel Chukwu headed the ball in at the far post to draw the game level at 1-1.
After the restart. Mumbai City FC were back to dominating the ball as Jamshedpur struggled keep possession. The Islanders were retaining the ball expertly despite tough challenges from Jamshedpur FC players who were looking to make the match a physical competition.
However, Jamshedpur FC looked more dangerous going forward in the first half as they were trying to counter the Islanders who were trying to build play to penetrate. In the 28th minute, Wellington managed to intercept the ball in midfield to release Boris on the left wing, who had made his forward. He shot the ball right at Phurba, who parried it away with ease.
The Islanders were dominating the ball but were finding it hard to create clear cut opportunities in the first half after a frantic start to the game. Soon after the referee blew for half time as the scores read 1-1 at the end of the first half.
The Mumbai City FC players looked to start the second half in a similar fashion to that of the first. Jamshedpur FC’s tactics were clear after the break as they were willing to surrender the ball to the Islanders so that they could use their physically dominant players to counter.
The first chance of the second half came the way of the Islanders in the 50th minute. A quickly taken corner on the left played in Bipin into space right outside the Red Miners' box. He curled the ball trying to find the right top corner but it went straight into the hands of Rehenesh.
Des Buckingham looked to utilise the tactical flexibility of his squad to take the lead as the scores read 1-1. He made the first substitution of the game in the 56th minute when he brought on Vikram Partap Singh for Apuia Ralte.
The change soon almost paid dividends as in the 62nd minute Vikram struck the crossbar. Noguera and Stewart combined well on the right to release Chhangte who turned and played the ball into the path of Vikram, who chipped the ball over the Jamshedpur FC keeper only to strike the crossbar.
In the 65th minute, Jamshedpur FC took off Ritwik Das to bring on Farukh Choudhary. Coach Buckingham made a double substitution in the 67th minute which saw Rowlin Borges and Pereyra Diaz come on for Jahouh and Chhangte respectively.
In the 71st minute Jamshedpur FC made their second substitution of the game as they brought on Jay Emmanuel Thomas for Sawyer to partner Chukwu upfront.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes, Mumbai City FC kept looking for the winning goal as Jamshedpur FC looked content with a draw. The scores still read 1-1 as the raucous support at the Mumbai Football Arena was pushing the Islanders on.
Jamshedpur FC made a double substitution in the 84th minute, as they brought on Laldinpuia for Boris and Ishan Pandita for Chukwu. Buckingham brought on Gurkirat Singh for Bipin in the 86th minute so that Islanders could go all out in attack for that winning goal.
A metaphorical throwing of the kitchen sink was not enough on the night as the game ended 1-1 at the Mumbai Football Arena despite a dominant performance in possession throughout the 90 minutes.
The Islanders will now travel away to Kochi to take on Kerala Blasters on October 28 at the JLN Stadium.