Mumbai City FC played out a 2-2 draw against ATK Mohun Bagan, as the Islanders could not build on their excellent first half performance. The second half was an entertaining affair which consisted of 3 goals for both teams and a red card for ATKMB.
Coach Des Buckingham named an unchanged starting eleven from the game against Kerala Blasters FC, for the game against ATK Mohun Bagan. 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 with the creative Ahmed Jahouh and the dynamic Greg Stewart in midfield for the second game in a row. Jorge Pereyra Diaz was leading the line for the Islanders. He was flanked by Lallianzuala Chhangte on the right and Bipin Singh on the left wing in the Mumbai City FC attack.
The Islanders were looking for a quick start to continue their unbeaten record against ATK Mohun Bagan, who have never defeated Mumbai City FC in an Indian Super League game. Mumbai City FC were retaining the ball expertly in the opening minutes of the game and were not letting the Mariners have too much time on the ball.
Mumbai’s aggressive start to the game paid dividends in the 4th minute itself as they went up 1-0 thanks to a wonder strike by Lallianzuala Chhangte. The Islanders’ number 7 made some space for him while cutting in from the right. He unleashed a devastating shot that hit the underside of the crossbar and went in as Vishal Kaith failed to keep it out of the goal.
The Mariners were looking for a quick reply from restart as a header from Liston Colaco crashed against the Islanders cross-bar in the 6th minute of the game. The score remained 1-0 as Mumbai City FC were looking to pile on the pressure on the ATKMB defence.
The next chance of the game came in the 11th minute for the Islanders. Greg Stewart stole the ball in the opposition's box and found Ahmed Jahouh, who set the ball up for an on-rushing Chhangte. Unfortunately, he could not get a clean strike on the ball and was caught by the ATKMB goalkeeper.
Chances were coming thick and fast for the Islanders who were dominating possession, as ATKMB was struggling to string passes together in midfield. They carved out another great chance in the 19th minute, as Bipin tricked his way past Asish Rai to deliver a sumptuous cross for Jorge Pereyra Diaz in the centre. Diaz’s header however just went over the ATKMB crossbar as Vishal Kaith was scrambling. The score still read 1-0 in favour of the Islanders.
The next chance of the game came the way of the Islanders in the 22nd minute. Jahouh played an accurate cross field ball to Chhangte on the right, who kept the ball well and played in Greg. Stewart easily beat his marker to make space for himself but his shot after was caught with ease by Vishal Kaith in the ATKMB goal. The scores remained at 1-0 as the Islanders were looking for the second goal to give themselves breathing space.
At this point, the Mumbai City FC players looked well in control as the Islanders were passing the ball beautifully and putting on a show for the people in the jam-packed Mumbai Football Arena.
The next chance of the game however came the way ATKMB against the run of play in the 30th minute. Manvir Singh managed to get the ball on the right wing and cut the ball back to Hugo Boumous. The former Islanders player failed to keep his shot down despite making space for himself. The scores still read 1-0 as half time was approaching.
ATK Mohun Bagan were slowly getting into their groove as they were able to string play together. But the Mariners were still finding it hard to break down the resolute Mumbai City FC defence.
The last chance of the first half broke the way of the Islanders in the 44th minute. After some sublime combination play between Chhangte and Stewart on the left flank, Stewart played a cheeky ball to Bipin Singh in the ATKMB box. Bipin shot the ball first time trying to beat Kaith on his near post with a powerful low shot which was parried away by the ATKMB keeper.
Soon after the referee blew for half time as the Islanders went into the break with a well-deserved 1-0 lead, as ATK Mohun Bagan struggled to keep the ball in the first half.
Coach Buckingham made a half time substitution as he brought on Mandar Rao Dessai for Sanjeev Stalin. The Islanders looked to build on the 1-0 lead in the second half from the restart.
Juan Fernando’s half time team talk seemed to be doing the trick for ATK Mohun Bagan as their players looked re-energised in the second half.
The Spanish coach made a substitution of his own in the 46th minute when he brought on Lenny Rodrigues for Deepak Tangri in the hopes to penetrate the Islanders defence.
ATK Mohun Bagan equalised in the 48th minute through their Finnish midfielder Joni Kauko. The Finnish midfielder calmly slotted the ball past Phurba after he was found with a cut-back from the left flank to level the scores at 1-1 for the Mariners.
The ball was constantly changing hands after the restart as both teams looked to take the match by the scruff of the neck.
The Islanders made their second substitution of the game in the 65th minute as they brought on Alberto Noguera for Jorge Pereyra Diaz. Buckingham brought Noguera to inject the Mumbai City FC with added creativity with his expansive passing range.
In response, ATKMB made their second substitution of the game in the 68th minute as they brought on Ashique Kuruniyan for Liston Colaco.
Soon after, in the 72nd minute of the game, Mumbai City FC went into the lead thanks to Rostyn Griffiths. Jahouh floated the ball inside the box from the left flank which was acrobatically turned towards goal by Griffiths, but his first attempt crashed against the crossbar. The ball then fell kindly for the defender after ricocheting off the bar and he managed to poke into the goal from point blank range to make it 2-1 for the Islanders.
Coach Buckingham soon after brought on Vikram Partap Singh for Chhangte hoping to preserve Mumbai City FC’s lead in the 73rd minute.
In the 74th minute, an altercation between Greg Stewart and Lenny Rodrigues led to the ATKMB player being sent off as he kicked Greg Stewart on from behind. After the red card to Lenny, ATKMB faced an uphill battle as they were chasing the game at 2-1.
After the red card, the Islanders looked well in control as they were able to penetrate the Mariners' defence with ease. In the 76th minute of the game, a smart dink from Jahouh found Bipin in space on the left flank. Bipin’s shot however was slightly wide of the near post as he could not capitalise on the chance.
ATKMB were forced to make a change soon after to put bodies in midfield as they brought on Hnamte for Manvir Singh in the 79th minute of the game.
In the 84th minute, Mumbai City FC came close to doubling their lead thanks to a powerful free kick by Greg Stewart from the right side of the field. The Scotsman unleashed a thunderous strike from the dead-ball situation from right outside the box only to see it crash against the crossbar. The scores still read 2-1 in favour of the Islanders.
In the hope of catching the Islanders, Juan Ferrando made two quick substitutions in the dying embers of the game. They brought on Carl McHugh for Boumous in the 85th minute and soon after brought on Kiyan Nassiri for Asish Rai in the 87th minute of the game. ATKMB were piling men forward as they were desperately looking for an equaliser.
In the 89th minute, their tactic paid dividends as ATK Mohun Bagan equalised through Carl McHugh. Petratos’ inviting delivery from a free-kick was met by McHugh with a pin-point header to pull the scores level at 2-2, as a frantic end to the game ensued from the restart.
The last chance of the game came the way of the Islanders in added time at the end of the second half, when Noguera tricked his way past a couple of ATKMB defenders to unleash a powerful low shot that hit the post.
Soon after the referee called the game to a close. The game ended at 2-2, as the Islanders and Mariners shared the points on the night after an action-packed second half of the game.
Mumbai City FC will travel to take on Chennaiyin FC in their next league game on the 12th of November 2022 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.