Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky expressed satisfaction with the performance of his players as they shared the spoils with FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Wednesday.

In a toe-to-toe fixture, both teams tried their best to find the back of the net but failed to break the deadlock until the 46th minute. Bipin Singh sent a cross inside the FC Goa box, finding Vikram Partap Singh at the second post, who tapped it in to give his team the lead.

The Gaurs levelled the scores in the 61st minute through a Mohammad Yasir banger from outside the box. The visitors kept sending waves of attack to secure their first win in the last four matches, but the Islanders kept their nerve in the backline, ensuring the match ended 1-1.

With this tie, the Islanders have extended their unbeaten run against FC Goa to ten games.

Reflecting on the match, Kratky analyzed the course of events and acknowledged the opposition's commendable fightback after conceding early in the second half.

We know they (FC Goa) are a quality team. So I think we had a decent first half. We kept a lot of the ball and a lot of possession. And we started the second half very well. We scored a very good goal, through teamwork and a good combination of the cross and finish. It was very good,” stated Kratky in the post-match press conference. 

He continued, “And then, FC Goa showed their quality. That's why they were unbeaten in the first leg of the season.” 

FC Goa resiliently fought back after conceding the goal, and their equalizer evidently fell short. They kept Mumbai City FC hanging by a thread, attempting 14 shots compared to the Islanders' 10.

When questioned about whether the second-half pressure affected Kratky's composure, the Czech-Australian tactician confidently expressed faith in his players.

“I don't feel anxious. I trust the boys. And they put the bodies on the line, they fought. And, you know, we took the point. So it was a very good team spirit in it, and we fought until the end,” he shared. 

After the match, FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez claimed that his team deserved all three points from the game.

In response to this assertion, Kratky expressed his opinion, “I think if you compare both the halves, I think it's equal. I think it's a fair point. But if you look at just the last ten minutes, yes, I can feel why the coach (Marquez) feels they should have won because they should have scored.”

Mumbai City FC midfielder Lalengmawia Ralte, popularly known as Apuia, was left out of the squad. The 23-year-old has featured for the Islanders 15 times so far this season, bagging himself a goal and an assist while creating 12 chances for his team.

Explaining his absence, Kratky said, “He (Apuia) woke up a little bit sick, so we obviously have to have to look after him.”

Another big name missing from the squad was that of their top scorer this season, Jorge Pereyra Diaz who has bagged himself six goals in his 11 appearances. 

The 42-year-old added, “Same with Diaz. A little bit of something's going around, so we have to be careful because it's games coming, but, yeah, they will be ready for the next game.”

Young forward Ayush Chhikara, who was only introduced in the 69th minute of the match replacing Jayesh Rane, was seen limping off the pitch in the 85th minute. 

Shedding light on his situation, Kratky stated, “He ended up sore and we wanted to take precaution because he's a very important player for us."

“For us, the health of the player is the most important thing. And he's a young player. So we make sure, nothing goes wrong. He will go to scan. I don't know what happened, to be honest. Obviously, scans and assessment will need to be done,” added Kratky. 

Forward Vikram Partap Singh has found his scoring form since Kratky took charge of Mumbai City FC. The 22-year-old has netted four times and provided an assist in his 15 matches.

Commending the youngster's performance and addressing the possibility of transitioning him from his current role as a winger to a striker, the head coach stated, “I think he's a really good winger. He's working hard, he has the speed to run behind as well. And he's getting better with the ball as well in a combination play. And he's in the right place at the right time. You know, that's what a striker needs to have. Also that instinct, I'm very happy for him.”

“There is always a possibility he will move as a striker later on. But at the moment he does well on the wing,” Kratky signed off.