League leaders FC Goa held Mumbai City FC to a goalless draw at the Fatorda Stadium here on Tuesday night as Petr Kratky secured a point for the visitors in his first ever game coaching in the Indian Super League (ISL).
The Gaurs began impressively, chasing their first win against the Islanders in their last eight encounters. Carl McHugh, primarily tasked with shielding the FC Goa defence, was on the move forward tonight, unlocking their attackers with key passes near the final third.
A headed attempt at goal in the sixth minute was followed by McGugh placing a perfect pass on the path of Boris Singh. The winger took a shot at Phurba Lachenpa in the 12th minute, but the Mumbai City FC goalkeeper thwarted the threat for the time being.
The home team fell back on their creative attacking duo of Victor Rodriguez and Noah Sadaoui soon afterwards, with the two of them pushing the Mumbai City FC backline behind and carving open spaces to keep Lachenpa on his toes, all the time.
Abdenasser El Khayati, the former Chennaiyin FC star who netted the opener in the Islanders’ 4-0 triumph over Bengaluru FC last week, was eager to get going, with some enterprising moves near the opposition’s box
However, efforts from neither of the two sides could culminate in a goal-scoring move, with Noah’s shot courtesy of a pass by Rodriguez flying over the posts at the brink of the half-time whistle.
Yoëll van Nieff, Lallianzuala Chhangte, and Bipin Singh came on to enable the Islanders to take a more direct approach in the second essay of the game. Van Nieff drew fouls near the box whereas Bipin made some flashy runs on the left flank. Cutting in, he unleashed a shot in the 68th minute, but a disciplined FC Goa defence that has conceded only thrice so far this season, held right to ward off the winger’s effort.
Marquez unrolled the last roll of his dice by substituting Carlos Martinez on for Sadaoui, with a hope of putting numbers inside the box and banking on the Spaniard to make the most of whichever chances came his way. But, it was not the night for that, as Mumbai City FC weathered that and instead applied pressure back by amplifying their efforts to seek the winner.
FC Goa will travel to face the Mohun Bagan Super Giant at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on December 23, whereas Mumbai City FC will meet East Bengal FC at home on December 16.