Westwood's side could only garner a point as they continue to drop points on the road...
Ten-men Mumbai FC displayed a strong character by coming back twice to equalize as they held Bengaluru FC to a 2-2 draw at the Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune. Sean Rooney opened the scoring in the seventh minute which was cancelled out by Hashmatullah Barakzai two minutes later. Ashutosh Mehta was sent-off for a foul on Siam Hangal in the 36th minute and Sunil Chhetri’s penalty in the second half looked to have sealed the win for the away side. However Climax Lawrence had other ideas as he scored from what was virtually the last kick of the game to deny the visitors full points.
Khalid Jamil stayed true to his words and made as many five changes to his line-up from the last game. Nidhin Lal was preferred over Kunal Sawant in goal, their two new Afghanistan recruits, namely Hashmatullah Jam and Ahmad Arash Hatim were handed a start as well. Dane Pereira and Subhas Chakraborty returned to the fold as well.
Ashley Westwood was forced to play Bruno Colaco between the sticks as Pawan Kumar was down with a niggle, though named on the bench.
Bengaluru survived an early scare as Climax Lawrence’s free-kick came off the crossbar before heading out for a goal-kick in the second minute.
It was the visitors who found the breakthrough in the seventh minute when Sean Rooney saw his shot go past Nidhin Lal from a low cross from the right provided by Beikhokhei Beingaichho.
However the lead didn’t last long as two minutes later, debutant Hashmatullah scuffed his shot but is powerful enough to avde the outstretched hands of Colaco in goal after Sanjdar Ahmadi would his way down the right before setting him up.
John Johnson’s appeal for a penalty fell on deaf ears as he headed a Sunil Chhetri free-kick just wide and made a case of being impeded while in the air.
Nidhin Lal did well in the 17th minute to prevent Rooney from taking a shot after an over the top ball was played for him.
There was a pace about the game as both sides looked energetic and keen to spring forward at every instance.
Ashutosh Mehta got his marching orders as he was alleged to have brought down Siam Hangal who was through on goal in the 36th minute.
Nidhin Lal was called into action three minutes after the break as Johnny Menyongar’s attempt from 30-yards saw the goalkeeper tip it over the bar. They did find the back of the net in 49th minute albeit with Rooney scoring from an offside position.
Jayesh Rane handled the ball inside the box from a Chhetri header after a cross from the right saw referee Pranjal Banerjee point to the spot. Chhetri’s penalty was low and to the right which left Nidhin Lal with no chance to stop.
Mumbai FC never really threatened thereafter as Bengaluru enjoyed most of the possession. Hangal had an opportunity to score after being set up by Rino Anto but the former shot wide from inside the box.
Thoi Singh should have done better as he wasted a golden chance that came his way after Beingaichho did the dirty work by letting the former go clean through on goal from the left only to see him shoot over the bar.
There was a sting in the tale at the death as Climax scored from virtually the last kick of the game. Mumbai FC won a couple of corners and from the last one, Hashmatullah’s header saw Colaco fail to deal with it and amongst the pandemonium in the Bengaluru box, Lawrence thumped the ball home from two-yards out.Bengaluru FC paid the price for being profligate in their attacks as they missed out on several opportunities as they yet again dropped point on the road.
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