Durand Cup 2022: Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan share the spoils after entertaining draw

ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC played out an exciting 1-1 draw in a Group B clash of the Durand Cup clash, at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Liston Colaco drew first blood for the green and maroons in the first half, only to see that effort cancelled out by Argentine striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz, in the second. MCFC now have four points from two games while ATKMB have picked up their first, after going down to Rajasthan United in their first game.

The match started at a ferocious pace with ATKMB doing most of the attacking in the first 20 minutes of the first half.

Colaco, as early as the second minute, made a dazzling run from the right and unleashed a right-footed effort from inside the box to beat keeper Phurba Lachenpa in the MCFC goal, but the right upright came to the rescue. Another solo run by the Goan in the 12th minute was thwarted by an alert Rahul Bheke in the MCFC defence.

Bipin Singh got the first chance for MCFC in the 16th minute but Pritam Kotal made a similar intervention and from the resulting corner Bheke’s header went over the target.

In the 35th minute, Bipin found Alberto Noguera inside the box and the Spaniard side-stepped Ashish Rai for a shot on target but the effort was aimed straight at Vishal Kaith in the ATKMB goal.

The goal came in the 40th minute. It started with Florentin Pogba in the middle of the park who controlled the ball with some skill to shrug off two MCFC challengers and passed square to his left to Deepak Tangri. The Indian Arrows product found Frenchman Hugo Boumous over on the right flank who spotted the run of Ashish Rai inside the box and played him on. Rai’s strike on target was saved by Lachenpa, but Colaco was at hand and bulged the rebound into the roof of the Mumbai net.

MCFC could have equalised four minutes later when Greg Stewart found Bipin in the clear with a floated pass, but the Manipuri’s header was straight at Vishal again.

Des Buckingham made one change at half-time bringing in Lallianzuala Chhangte, the Man of the Match in the last game, in place of Vikram Partap Singh, who looked off colour on the day. Ten minutes into the half he brought on Sanjeev Stalin, who has a bit more attacking flair in defence, to replace Amay Ranawade.

Ferrando made his first move in the 62nd minute, effecting a double change. Kauko and Ashique Kurniyan, who was quite lively on the left flank, were taken off and Manvir Singh and young Kiyan Nassiri were brought on to add fresh legs in the attack.

In the 65th minute, Colaco got a similar rebound off Lachenpa as in the first goal, this time even closer, after a beautiful team move that involved Kiyan Nassiri from the right who squared to Colaco. His classy dummy found Rai in place who played out to Manvir in space on the left. His shot on target came back off Lachenpa but Australian defender Rostyn Griffiths was first to react and cleared before Colaco could pounce.

Buckingham’s third substitute, Pereyra Diaz, brought on in the 68th minute in place of Moroccan Ahmed Jahouh, was the one that brought him dividends. Stalin played out wide on the right, delivered a first-time cross in the box and found the Argentine Diaz unmarked. He headed down to wrong-foot the goalkeeper and MCFC were level.

Ferrando then tried everything to get a winner, bringing in Lenny Rodriguez and Pronoy Halder for Deepak Tangri and Hugo Boumous. In the 86th minute, he brought on Laldinliana Hnamte for the hard-working Rai as a final throw of the dice. But besides a Manvir header in the 90th minute, off a Pritam Kotal cross, there was not much purchase as the two Hero ISL teams shared the spoils.

ATK Mohun Bagan next face East Bengal in the Kolkata derby on Sunday before Mumbai City FC Rajasthan United in their next match a day later.

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