Sergio Lobera's table-toppers of Mumbai City FC shared the spoils after a goalless draw against Hyderabad FC. The draw kept the Islanders six points clear at the top of the points table in the Hero Indian Super League season 7.
For Mumbai City FC, Adam Le Fondre and Ahmed Jahouh were back in the starting eleven for Bart Ogbeche and Hugo Boumous. Hyderabad FC made two changes with Liston Colaco and Hitesh Sharma started.
There was no real test inside the first 10 mins of the first half with the Islanders mostly dominating the possession. But it didn't take long for Mumbai to have their first goal-scoring opportunity.
Raynier Fernandes' pass found Bipin Singh in the 12th min just outside Hyderabad's box. But Bipin's effort was cut short by a good tackle from Asish Rai. Bipin had another opportunity in the 15th minute after receiving a fantastic cross from Raynier, but his attempt was well off target.
A minute later, Hyderabad responded with a series of good passes inside Mumbai's half, but weren't able to finish it off as Amrinder made a good save from close range to deny the visitors.
Hyderabad FC were a more resilient side and did manage to survive every time Mumbai City FC had a sight of taking the lead. One such interception came in the 25th minute of the game when Asish Rai's header denied Bipin to have a go at Amey's cross from the right flank.
The visitors had their best opportunity to take a lead in the 33rd minute of the first half. Amrinder went on to win a one-on-one battle with Joel Chianese who received a delightful lob bisecting Mumbai City FC's defense. Our Captain kept his cool to make the best save of the match.
There was more excellent work left in defence in the final 10 minutes of the first-half from both sides. First, in the 38th minute, Fall spotted the danger and cleared the ball aimed towards Joel Chianese. That was followed by good work inside Hyderabad's box by defender Akash Mishra who checked Adam Le Fondre and denied him a go. The young defender once again came to Hyderabad's rescue with a clearance when he saw Amey making a run to Jahouh's pass.
It was an entertaining first half and somehow it stayed goalless after good football from both sides.
The visitors once again did manage to keep things tight at the start of the second half. The mounting pressure also got the better of Amrinder in the 49th minute when he didn't get the best of clearance and gave away the ball to Liston Colaco, who couldn't make the most of the opportunity as his shot went wide off the post.
Hyderabad FC kept the pressure going with a series of attempts in the 58th minute, but quality defending by the Islanders kept things tight for Hyderabad.
Sergio Lobera looked for more attacking options and thus made the two changes in space of five minutes. Vignesh Dakshinamurthy came in for Bipin Singh, while Cy Goddard was replaced by Bartholomew Ogbeche. In the 69th minute, Hernan Santana received the first booking of the match for a foul.
Manolo Márquez too brought in more fresh legs in the 74th minute and made a couple of changes in space of 5 minutes. January signing Roland Alberg replaced Aridane Santana and Halicharan Narzary came in for Mohammed Yasir. Vikram Partap Singh was the third change for MCFC as he replaced Raynier Fernandes for the last 10 minutes with HFC bringing on former Islander, Sahil Tavora for Joel Chianese.
Vikram, however, was shown a yellow card after a bad tackle on Akash Mishra from behind. A couple of minutes later Adam Le Fondre too went into the referee's book for a slide into Liston Colaco.
Roland Alberg had one last opportunity to break the deadlock in the final minute of the injury time, but Mumbai City FC, despite on the receiving end of a few yellow cards kept their composure through Ahmed Jahouh’s brilliant tackle as the match ended with a goalless draw.
Both sides will rue the important chances they had to steal 3 points in a very tight game. In the end, some good work by the Islanders in defence and a top save by our Captain Amrinder Singh helped us extend our unbeaten run to 10-matches, a new club record.
Sergio Lobera’s Mumbai City FC will next face Robbie Fowler’s SC East Bengal on January 22 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium.