Mumbai FC and Dempo SC played out a dull 0-0 draw in an I-League encounter at the Balewadi stadium in Pune.
In a game with few opportunities, Mumbai FC had the better of the half-chances, but failed to make it count.
The hosts gave oft-injured S. Kuttymani a rare start, with Abhishek Yadav retaining his place in the starting eleven. Dempo meanwhile started with a strike pair of Joaquim Abranches and Koko Sakibo with Mahesh Gawli returning to the starting eleven.
While it was the away side that started the brighter of the two teams, but Mumbai FC created the first chance of the game, when Yusif Yakubu seemed set to tap home a cross by N.D Opara, only for Subhasish Roy Chowdhury to get his fingertips on the ball, diverting it behind the on-rushing Ghanaian.
Dempo promptly re-asserted their authority on the ball, but found chances hard to come-by, against a very composed Mumbai FC defense. Romeo Fernandes’ long range effort, which just missed the target was the best they could manage.
On the other side, Gabriel Fernandes caught Rowilson Rorigues in possession, but instead of rolling the ball wide to a free Yakubu, decided to try his luck from distance, allowing Gawli to make a challenge.
Nicholas Rodrigues’ delivery into the box created the next chance, but Yadav failed to direct his header on target.
On the other end, Koko Sakibo failed to hold on to the ball and Armando Colaco’s side finished the half having failed to test Luis Barreto even once.
Mumbai FC thought they took the lead when a rasping drive from Yakubu found the back of the net. However the assistant referee’s flag, that was up for offside, spoiled their party.
N.D Opara then should have put the hosts ahead, but he hit a tame shot when put clean through on goal by a brilliant ball over the defense by Abhishek Yadav.
Khalid Jamil’s side continued to create plenty of problems for the opposition, and it took a last ditch tackle by Debabrata Roy to prevent Yakubu from having a shot on goal.
Dempo then enjoyed a period of sustained possession, but missed the creative edge that Ryuji Sueoka usually offers to the side.
In a bid to add further strength to their attack, Colaco threw Joy Ferrao into the fray, and he almost had an immediate inpact, as Miranda’s cross reached him at the edge of the 6 yard box. However the forward failed to even hit the target with his weak attempt.
Yakubu meanwhile continued to cause mayhem at the other end, and he dribbled into the box with intent. However this time somehow Gawli and Rowilson managed to stave off the danger.
Eventually the referee bought the match to a close, with neither team able to find a winner. The win saw Dempo climb to the top of the table with 29 points while Mumbai FC are 5th with 20 points.
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