I-League 2017: Mumbai FC 0-0 Churchill Brothers - Relegation cloud looms over Mumbaikars after dour draw
Arjun Kapoor
The draw didn't help the cause of the hosts who are very close to being relegated for the first time in the club's history.

Mumbai Football Club and Churchill Brothers SC played out a 0-0 draw in a round 15 I-League encounter at the Cooperage stadium in Mumbai, Maharashtra, on Saturday evening.

Oscar Bruzon opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation in his debut game as the Mumbaikars' gaffer. Thoi Singh was ruled out of the fixture following a leg injury. Alex Willian Silva operated as the lone striker, and as expected, Karan Sawhney and Djelaludin Sharityar were deployed as central defensive midfielders.

Derrick Pereira started with a 4-4-1-1 shape with the deadly duo of Ansumana Kromah and Anthony Wolfe upfront. Rowilson Rodrigues, who suffered a cut on his leg, made way for Meldon D'Silva in the defence. 

The first half was a dire 45 minutes which saw both teams fail at breaking the deadlock. The never ending problem of clumsy finishing cost Mumbai a couple of chances at the goalpost as Victorino was sloppy with the ball control. The moments of limelight came twice with the first being around the half hour mark. Alex stepped up for a free-kick and curled the ball inside the opponents' box but the untimed effort resulted in the ball swaying above the post. 

Preview: Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal

Just minutes before the half-time mark, the hosts came really close to registering their first goal. Densill Theobald stood up for a free-kick which saw his delivery being headed by Alex but the shot hit the crossbar and crushed Mumbai's hopes.

As for the visitors, the lethal combination of Kromah and Wolfe got the better of Mumbai's defensive forces, often. Wolfe was seen singlehandedly humiliating Mumbai's defenders as he ran past them without any problem. Chesterpoul Lyngdoh was swift on the right flank for the Red Machine but a firm Djelaludin Sharityar meant that the youngster wouldn't reach the 30-yard box.

The two teams entered the tunnel at the half-time whistle on a 0-0 score-line. 

Tactical Watch: Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal

The latter half saw Churchill get the better of Mumbai as the men in red pressed well in the last one hour. In the early minutes of the second half, the visiting side had a chance on the goal but a mess-up by Kromah and co bottled the opportunity. Kattimani was heavily put to test by the Churchill strikers, one such save coming in the 59th minute. The Mumbai goalkeeper denied an onrushing Brandon Fernandes from putting Churchill in the lead. 

In the 79th minute, forward Clyde Fernandes flicked a ball into the opposition's box but the player was unlucky to see it brush off the goal post. Brandon, Kromah and Wolfe were in action throughout the 90 minutes but a lack of clinical finishing meant the two sides ended the game on a 0-0 scoreline.

The draw meant the Red Machines have 17 points whereas Mumbai have 11 and will continue to be in the 10th position. 


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