Mumbai FC hold BFC

Robin Singh scores equaliser for Westwood’s men

A well organised Mumbai FC backline, masterful use of time-wasting tactics and a few missed chances from Robin Singh meant that Bengaluru FC could only draw 1-1 against their visitors in a round 18 I-League encounter here at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Sunday.  

Robin, who started in place of the suspended Sunil Chhetri, had brought BFC back into the game with a leveller in the 55th minute but he spurned decent attempts as the match wore on. Ebi Sukore was Mumbai’s goal-scorer right after the half-time break. 

Mumbai also had a penalty appeal turned down in injury time when centre-back Curtis Osano miscontrolled a touch before the ball struck his arm. The referee waved play on, much to the consternation of the away bench. In the post-match conference, Mumbai coach Khalid Jamil said it was bad luck that they did not get the penalty. 

“It was a bit unlucky that we did not get the penalty,” he said. The draw moved BFC three poins clear at the top of the table with 31 points from 16 games. Second-placed Sporting Clube de Goa, however, have a game on hand. 

With star shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa as well as her mixed doubles partner Tarun Kona present among the crowd, they would have wanted to forget a lackadaisical first-half.Both teams opted for no changes at the break but it was Mumbai who were celebrating soon after. 

National team striker Mohammad Rafi, deployed on the left, put in a pinpoint cross to Sukore, who took a touch with his left, brought the ball down with his right and slotted a right-foot finish past goalkepeer Pawan Kumar. 

The Mumbai players celebrated the goal in front of the BFC supporters who obviously did not like it. They promptly sang songs belittling Mumbai FC which riled up Khalid. Sukore’s goal woke up BFC’s offensive players. 

BFC’s assist machine from the right, Beikhokhei Beingaichho, who has pace to burn, took on the opposition wing-back, won the race and his floated a cross from the right byline was nodded in from close range by Robin. The national team striker had the chance to win the game for the Blues in the 75th minute but shot straight at the keeper Kunal Sawant. 

That proved to be the last significant action of the match as Mumbai’s players started feigning injuries. It appeared obvious they chose to see out the game rather then going for the kill themselves. 

The banter between Jamil and the crowd continued right until the final whistle but he downplayed the incident in his post-match conference. BFC coach Ashley Westwood felt it was a point gained as well as two lost.

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