A horrible error in the box by Mumbai City FC’s Ahmed Jahouh helped Chennaiyin FC score an equaliser to play out a 1-1 draw at the GMC Stadium, in Goa on Monday.
Jahouh’s tackle on Jakub Sylvestr was deemed a foul by the referee and a penalty was given immediately. Esmael Gonsalves scored the equaliser in the 76th minutes to give Chennaiyin a hard-fought point.
Earlier Mumbai had taken the lead through Bartholomew Ogbeche in the 21st minute. The Islanders would be embarrassed to have not won the three points. Chennaiyin, on the other hand, defended with all their might to come out unbeaten.
The result kept Mumbai City FC at the top of the table with 30 points from 13 matches. Chennai are at fifth with 16 points from 14 games.
The opening 45 minutes were nothing short of entertainment with both sides creating ample chances and testing each other. However, Mumbai proved more clinical than their opponents in the attacking third and deservedly led at the break.
Chennaiyin dominated the opening exchanges and created a chance as early as the second minute. Goncalves won the ball in midfield and played Thoi Singh on the right flank, whose cross was flicked by Mourtada Fall just outside the box. It fell towards Lallianzuala Chhangte who unleashed a shot on his weaker foot which was parried away by Amrinder Singh.
Another chance went begging for Chennaiyin, this time from a set-piece. Chhangte whipped a dangerous cross through a corner for Eli Sabia, who got a free header but saw his effort sail over the crossbar.
Those missed opportunities would haunt Chennaiyin as Mumbai broke the deadlock. The Islanders have scored the most goals from set-pieces this season and opened the scoring in a similar fashion.
After Amey Ranawade’s throw was cleared away poorly, Rowllin Borges found Bipin Singh on the left. The winger delivered a delicious cross at the far post for Ogbeche, who thumped a brilliant header to notch his fifth goal of the season. That was his 32nd ISL goal as he overtook Marcelinho to climb to third on the all-time scoring charts.
Chennaiyin began the second half strongly in search of an equaliser but neither side was able to fashion clear-cut chances as the game progressed.
However, they were fortunate to win a penalty after an error from Ahmed Jahouh. The midfielder was deemed to have tripped Jakub Sylvestr in the box. Goncalves stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent Amrinder the wrong way to draw Chennaiyin level.
Mumbai piled on the pressure in the last quarter of the game but Chennaiyin’s defence stood tall to deny their opponents any chance of finding a winner.