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ISL 2017-18: Lack of options on bench come to hurt Mumbai City FC

04:57 GMT+4 06/01/2018
Jamshedpur FC Mumbai City
The Islanders didn’t have enough alternatives on the bench after Raju Gaikwad picked up an injury in the first half…

Who would have thought that Mumbai City FC would miss the services of a certain Raju Gaikwad, who has been bang in average this season. The 27-year-old was part of a three-man defence alongside Lucian Goian and Mehrajuddin Wadoo.

The match against Jamshedpur FC could have started on a disastrous note when Jerry Mawihmingthanga was brought down inside the box by Goian but the referee refused to award a penalty against the visitors.

Mumbai took the lead through Thiago Santos’ brilliant goal and it looked like Mumbai had the proceedings under control before Gaikwad picked up an injury and had to be substituted. In came Zakeer Mundampara in the 36th minute with Gerson Vieira being asked to fill in at the back.

This was the start of the downfall for Alexandre Guimaraes’ outfit. All of a sudden, Jamshedpur looked like scoring a goal in every attacking move. Zakeer and Achille Emana couldn’t provide enough cover for their defence which allowed Memo and Mehtab Hossain to spray the ball at will.

We have already highlighted in the past about Mumbai’s Achilles' heel this season being their full-backs. And Sanju Pradhan and Abinash Ruidas certainly didn’t impress. Souvik Chakraborty was given the license to move forward while Jerry looked a different player altogether.

It wasn’t surprising to see that Mumbai conceded both goals from their left, an area which Gerson usually provides cover for when being deployed in midfield.

One may find fault with Guimaraes’ substitution but the only other defensive options he had on the bench were Davinder Singh and Marcio Rosario. Add to this Sehnaj Singh was suspended which left the Costa Rican coach with not many choices.

Jamshedpur would feel hard done by as they allowed Mumbai to make a comeback in the second half. For the very first time in the season, Steve Coppell’s team looked threatening so much so that Mumbai had all their players in their own half during the course of the game.

Part of the reason for this was the return of Anas Edathodika to the line-up. This allowed Coppell to use another attack in Izu Azuka alongside the wasteful Kervens Belfort. In earlier matches, he was forced to play Andre Bikey in defence thus sacrificing a foreign attacking player from his line-up.

Mumbai will be pleased with a point while Jamshedpur have several positives to take from the tie. Their goal difference still continues to be 0 after eight matches.