An Esmael Goncalves penalty earned Chennaiyin FC (CFC) a crucial point in a 1-1 draw against Indian Super League (ISL) leaders Mumbai City FC (MCFC) at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Monday.
With the stalemate, Mumbai City FC extended its unbeaten record to 12 matches and retained its lead at the top to six points from 13 matches. Chennaiyin moved to fifth on the table with 16 points from 14.
Change in approach
CFC head coach Csaba Laszlo promised a change in approach and his side came out attacking from the off. Lallianzuala Chhangte and Esmael Goncalves drew saves from Amrinder Singh and Eli Sabia headed over from a corner in the first 15 minutes.
Against the run of play, MCFC took the lead through Bartholomew Ogbeche in the 21st minute. Having only managed to clear a throw-in to Rowllin Borges outside the Chennaiyin box, Mumbai recycled the ball to the left before Bipin Singh swung in a cross into the six-yard box. Ogbeche, who was unmarked in the area, snuck behind Eli Sabia to power home a header into the top corner.
Mumbai’s Mourtada Fall needed to make a couple of crucial interceptions from Thoi Singh’s crosses to deny Chennaiyin the opportunity to equalise before the end of the half.
Mumbai started the second period with better control through central midfielders Borges and Ahmed Jahouh but a lackadaisical approach from Jahouh at the back led to a penalty.
From a short goal-kick, Jahouh was dispossessed by Jakub Sylvestr before having his leg clipped by the Moroccan. Goncalves stepped up to smash in the spot-kick with 14 minutes left on the clock.
In stoppage time, substitute Adam le Fondre came close to getting the winner when he struck from distance but it was straight at Vishal Kaith, who made the save.
The result: Chennaiyin FC (Esmael Goncalves 76’) 1-1 Mumbai City FC (Bartholomew Ogbeche 21’).
Tuesday’s match: NEUFC vs ATKMB.