Messi, Chermiti on target as Kerala and Mumbai settle for a draw

Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters FC had to settle for one point each after a 1-1 draw at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. Messi Bouli scored the opener for Kerala in the second-half, but Amine Chermiti netted soon after as the sides shared the spoils.

  • Messi Bouli gave Kerala Blasters the lead in the 75th minute.
  • Amine Chermiti scored the equaliser for Mumbai City just two minutes later.

The visitors dominated possession straight from the start and asked most of the questions early on. Seityasen Singh tried to put them ahead in the 12th minute but his effort from inside the box blazed over the frame of the goal.

The hosts managed to grow into the contest as the half progressed, however, Kerala looked likelier to score and could have gone ahead in the 25th minute when Messi controlled a cross from the left before executing a spectacular overhead kick that forced Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh into making a brilliant save.

The Islanders finally came to life in the 34th minute and created two chances in quick succession without being able to apply the finishing touch on either occasion. Buoyed after getting a sight of goal, Mumbai went on to finish the half strongly with Modou Sougou looking dangerous on the right side.

Sougou even fired a shot from the edge of the box on target before half-time but the effort didn't quite have enough behind it to really worry Kerala custodian TP Rehenesh.

Neither side could find the back of the net as the teams went into the break with the score goalless.

Both sides started the second period with a high tempo but creating chances of note was proving to be problematic. Messi saw his shot blocked by Mumbai six minutes into the half, while Paulo Machado was kept out by Rehenesh shortly after. Mohamed Larbi then saw an attempt from just outside the box fizz over the crossbar on the hour-mark as Mumbai seemed to be on the ascendency.

Rehenesh was called into action again in the 62nd minute when he rushed off his line to deny substitute Bipin Singh in a one-on-one situation. The Islanders continued to up the ante as the game approached its climax, but it was Kerala that took the lead with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Messi got the goal, however, Jeakson Singh and Jessel Carneiro played a massive role in the build-up. After Jeakson was denied by Amrinder, Carneiro produced a good cross from the left to pick out Messi, who executed a confident first-time finish to give Kerala the lead.

The Blasters weren’t in front for too long, though, with Mumbai levelling the score just two minutes later. Chermiti was once again in the right place at the right time to direct a knockdown from a Sarthak Golui cross from the right towards goal. Rehenesh did save Chermiti’s initial effort but was powerless when the Tunisian followed up to put the ball into the net and make it all square.

The closing stages of the game saw substitute Halicharan Narzary test Amrinder with a stinging shot, while Mumbai also had a half chance in injury time fall to Serge Kevyn. Neither side, though, could find the winner and had to settle for the solitary point.

Hero of the Match – Jeakson Singh

Jeakson Singh delivered a tireless performance at the center of the park for Kerala, making four clearances, two interceptions and a block over the course of the 90 minutes. He looked impressive throughout the game and finished with a commendable passing accuracy of 85%, making him the Hero of the Match. 

AWARDS

Club Award – Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – TP Rehenesh

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Mohamed Larbi

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Jeakson Singh

Hero of the Match – Jeakson Singh

Watch the match highlights here:

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