Mumbai City FC had to settle for a point after a thrilling 3-3 draw against FC Goa. Ishan Pandita came from the bench in the 90th minute to score in the last play of the match as FC Goa denied the Islanders a double over them in this season. Rowllin Borges’ 90th-minute strike nearly won the home side all 3 points.
Mandar Rao Dessai came into the starting line-up for Vignesh Dakshinamurthy. Jahouh too made a comeback from suspension. For FC Goa, James Donachie returned from injury and replaced Ivan Gonzalez in their starting eleven.
It wasn't the best of the start for both sides as they were trying to find their feet and get in the right shape. Less penetration in the final third was clearly evident. The Islanders made their first move and Hugo Boumous was at the centre of it, he made a brilliant run inside the box and went for the target but couldn't beat Dheeraj Singh who made a firm save to deny the Frenchman.
FC Goa's Glan Martins received the first booking of the match in the 8th minute of the match for his challenge from behind to win the ball off Hernan Santana.
There was a half-chance created from a free-kick in the 9th minute, but an over-committed Dheeraj was the first to get a touch on the ball but in the process hurt himself but was on his feet moments later.
The Gaurs looked in more control for a good period of time and almost sniffed a goal-scoring opportunity after Bedia played Ortiz inside in the 18th min before receiving an outstanding challenge by Fall, who cleared the ball with conviction.
Mumbai City had their first real opportunity in the 20th minute from a counter-attack after Bedia's poor pass. A well-timed release by Le Fondre set Boumous going on his own. He only had Dheeraj to beat and he did that with perfection. Boumous rounded the 'keeper and slotted it home to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
The Islanders would have doubled the lead five minutes later from Mandar's cross, but a vital touch from Adil saw it away for a corner. But Mumbai City weren’t letting it go easily as le Fondre doubled the lead with a fine header. Dheeraj's brilliant reflexes denied Santana but de Fondre was at the right place at the right time as he found the back of the net to score his ninth goal of the campaign.
Jahouh committed a foul in the 29th min just outside the box to give Goa a free-kick from a promising position. But Ortiz's free-kick went over the wall and well above the goal.
The visitors had another opportunity from Angulo's header in the 34th minute. A brilliant save by Amrinder on his left denied FC Goa their first goal of the game. Adil received the second booking of the match as he made a crucial challenge for the Gaurs against Le Fondre.
The home side dominated the final 10 minutes of the first half and looked good before Glan Martins' thunderous strike from distance from 30 yards out in the 45th minute reduced the lead at the break.
It was rather a slow start in the second half for Mumbai City FC. The visitors played some crucial passes but were denied by Mumbai's defence.
The Gaurs looked in more control with the ball and finally earned a goal in the 51st minute from Igor Angulo's header. Noguera's accurate cross found the Spaniard as he leveled things up with his 11th goal of the season.
Ortiz kept the pressure going and went for glory from distance in the 53rd minute but his effort went over the crossbar for a goal kick.
Sergio Lobera made the first change of the match in the 54th minute. Mandar came off the field and was replaced by Vignesh. Other players on the field too started taking more responsibility with the game picking up intensity.
Rowlin Borges had a glorious chance to restore the Islanders' lead and timed his run in the 55th minute to perfection but couldn't keep the ball down as it sailed over the crossbar.
The next phase of 20 minutes saw a real commitment from both sides. While Mumbai had more possession in that period, having no shot on target and some brilliant work at the defence by the Gaurs denied the home side. Seriton for FC Goa and Mourtada Fall for the Islanders were booked in the process.
FC Goa made their first change in the 75th minute as their opening goal-scorer Glan Martins was replaced by Devendra Murgaonkar. The latter had gone down after receiving a strong challenge from Jahouh. Le Fondre was the 2nd player from Mumbai to get booked after a challenge on Oritz in a counter-attack.
Mumbai let go of a brilliant chance in the 80th minute. It was another brilliant pass from Jahouh to Boumous on the left. The Frenchman made a good run to get inside the box and kept his effort on target. A deflection from Dheeraj saw the ball straight to Borges who lost his footing and failed to connect in front of an empty goal. At the other end, James Donachie who looked injured was replaced by Ivan Gonzalez in the 82nd min.
It was all happening in the final five minutes of the game. FC Goa had the ball and were looking promising, but caught the referee in the middle of the play at a promising position. Mumbai City FC made the final two changes and brought in Jackichand Singh and Bartholomew Ogbeche for Raynier Fernandes and Adam Le Fondre.
The game looked to be heading for a draw but Rowllin Borges managed to put Mumbai City back in front. It was a superb delivery from Boumous and the midfielder only had to tap-in at the far post to find the back of the net.
While the Islanders seemed to be assured of all three points, no one saw what was coming in the final passage of the game. Ishan Pandita who came off the bench in the 90th minute scored a towering header after receiving the delivery from Bedia.
The game went through plenty of twists. The Islanders had it all to take all three points but were undone by a lapse in concentration at the death.
Mumbai City FC now have a few days off and will play Bengaluru FC on Feb 15. Sergio Lobera's side are still four points clear at the top of the points table having played one game more that ATK Mohun Bagan FC.