In a match that saw both the teams scoring from spot kicks, honours were shared in the end....
Mumbai FC played out a 1-1 draw against Pailan Arrows in an I-League encounter at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Friday.
Both the goals came from the penalty spot, with Milan Singh getting the opener in the 26th minute, to which Yakubu replied with a penalty of his own in the 44th minute.
The hosts benched custodian Luis Barreto in favour of Kunal Sawant, while Yusif Yakubu started as a lone man up-front, supported by Gabriel Fernandes.
Pailan Arrows meanwhile could only name Alwyn George on the bench, as the player had not recovered fully yet. Shaiju Mon kept his place upfront, alongside Seimin Len Doungel and Holicharan Narzary.
The game started slowly, with neither team really able to grab the initiative. With both teams largely cancelling each other out, goalmouth action was at a premium.
Slowly though, the away side took hold of the proceedings, and threatened via the wings, as Prabis Das, Holicharan Narzary and Shaiju Mon found plenty of joy against Faizal Rehman and Kamaljeet Kumar.
However they were only able to create half-chances, none of which were taken by Pailan Arrows.
They however were handed the initiative when Shouvik Ghosh was adjudged to have been brought down by Faizal Rehman, leading to a penalty in Arrows’ favour.
Milan Singh duly stepped up and converted from the spot in the 26th minute.
In a bid to force a reply, Khalid Jamil threw Haroon Amiri upfront, replacing Kamaljeet with Abhishek Yadav.
The Afghanistan Captain had an immediate effect on the game, as he attempted two shots on goal, and in general, gave plenty to think about, to the Pailan defense.
Yusif Yakubu then came close to getting an equalizer, but his header went just wide of the goal.
Khalid Jamil’s side though, did get the leveler, when the referee pointed to the spot for Pritam Kotal’s handball, with Yakubu converting the penalty in the 44th minute, to make it 1-1.
And that was the scoreline at half-time, with Arthur Papas using the break to give the referee a piece of his mind, for giving the penalty against his side.
The second half started like the first, with neither side able to create an opening. Doungel was set free by Dhanpal Ganeshan, but the striker dithered on the ball, and Justin Stephen was able to make a tackle.
Narzary was the next player to try his luck, but his effort went over the bar, as Papas’ side looked for just their second win in ten games.
Yakubu though, almost snatched a goal from nothing for his side, as he chipped the ball goal-wards from almost 35 yards out, after seeing Soram Poirei off his line. The former Shillong Lajong custodian though, got back in time, to punch the ball out for a corner.
From the corner,the ball fell kindly to Evan Quao. However the midfielder’s effort went over the bar, as Mumbai FC suddenly found a new gear in attack.
Nicholas Rodrigues was the next to try his luck, but his effort took a deflection and went wide.
Amiri was then put through by Yakubu, but Deepak Devrani slid in bravely to affect a block, and saved a certain goal, injuring himself in the process.
The result moved Mumbai FC to 27 points and Pailan Arrows to 20, with both having played 21 games each.