Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham expressed his delight in the character and determination of his players as they fought back to secure a valuable point in an enthralling 2-2 draw against Odisha FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

Despite trailing Odisha FC after Jerry Mawihmingthanga's goal before half-time, Mumbai City FC managed to level the score through Rostyn Griffiths. The hosts regained their lead when substitute Roy Krishna converted a penalty, only for Jorge Diaz to strike late and salvage a crucial point for Mumbai City FC. Reflecting on the game, Buckingham described it as an exciting contest, particularly with both teams favouring similar styles of play.

“It was a good game, (especially) when you get two teams who try to play football in a very similar manner. We knew the football Sergio (Lobera) likes to play. I don't know what it made for TV back home, but from the sidelines, I thought it was quite an exciting game. For us, it’s four points from six, away from home which is a good start for us. Obviously, we go on the road again now to Uzbekistan (to face Navbahor in the AFC Champions League) and that puts us in a strong position to come back and play Kerala Blasters FC (at home). I'm very happy overall. Obviously, I am disappointed with the way we conceded the goals, but very happy with the way the players responded to those setbacks,” Buckingham said in the pre-match press conference.

Buckingham made two changes to his starting eleven compared to Mumbai City FC's previous victory against NorthEast United FC, with Vinit Rai and Tiri stepping in for Yoell van Nieff and Mehtab Singh. While Van Nieff was on the bench, Singh wasn't included in the squad due to an injury sustained in Mumbai City FC's ISL opener.

“We had to rotate the squad. We lost Mehtab because he got kicked in the head the last game. So we didn’t want to put him at risk. He will be fine for the next game. He wasn’t classed fit until this afternoon, so we had to change the midfield as we started with two foreign centre-backs. Vinit came in for his first start of the season. So there were a few changes in our squad but what I liked is that they showed a very clear and good understanding of how we want to play despite three changes. They continue to try and play the same way and that’s going to be so important to us,” Buckingham explained.

The English coach also commended the impact of players who came off the bench, such as Vikram Partap Singh and Abdenasser El Khayati. Singh, in particular, provided the crucial assist for Diaz's late equaliser and added speed and energy to Mumbai City FC's attack.

“Even the guys that came on, El Khayati got some more minutes, so we’re building him up slowly (to full fitness). And then the impact Vikram had again since coming on. He more than showed his worth and he’s been pushing for a start. He has pushed extremely hard for an inclusion in our starting eleven for the next game. So I'm very happy with him. And of course, Diaz, arriving at the end of an excellent cross, so I’m happy for him. So a lot of good positive takeaways,” Buckingham added.