Mumbai City FC played their second successive goalless draw as East Bengal FC bagged a point from their match at the Mumbai Football Arena that ended at 0-0 in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 tonight.

New coaches tend to bring in some tactical tweaks with them, and Petr Kratky showed that by handing midfielder Jayesh Rane a start over Vinit Rai in this match. Rane, 30, joined the Islanders from Bengaluru FC in the summer and is a sharp operator capable of scoring by getting into advanced positions near the opposition’s final third.

He carved an impact in the proceedings tonight, forging a fantastic partnership with Argentine striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz as the duo took two close shots at the backline of the Red & Gold Brigade in either half. Diaz, who has six goals in eight ISL appearances to his name this season, shifted wide on the box to draw defenders towards before chipping a ball for an onrushing Rane at the centre. The midfielder met the delivery with his head but couldn’t keep his effort on target as the ball flew over the posts in the fourth minute.

His second such endeavour, which came about in the 57th minute, was an even more enticing opportunity. Diaz, who seemed to have adopted a more evolved approach in this game, scraped through a tough position to keep hold of the ball and lay up a lightly lobbed pass for Rane, who volleyed it over the post, again.

These events were sandwiched between the East Bengal FC duo of Saul Crespo and Borja Herrera playing a nice little one-two on the left flank before the former launched a powerful shot that missed hitting the post merely by a whisker in the 34th minute.

Bipin Singh was a lively presence on the field for the Islanders again tonight, and he made his presence felt in the 73rd minute with a cross for Rostyn Griffiths on the far post that delightfully pierced through the away side’s defensive line. Griffiths had to tap the ball past Prabsukhan Singh Gill merely, but the goalkeeper showed sharp reflexes to deny the towering defender his second goal of the season. Mumbai brought in quality players off the bench in Lallianzuala Chhangte and Abdenasser El Khayati to tilt the proceedings in their favour in the final 30 minutes. Still, the visitors managed to hold tight and walk away with a point to their name.

Key Performer of the Match

Jayesh Rane (Mumbai City FC)

With two tackles, crosses and brilliant chances to break the deadlock each, Jayesh Rane was one of the notable performers of the game. He made this rare start count and has surely presented Kratky with a selection dilemma, albeit a positive one, in the coming run of matches.

What’s next for both teams?

Mumbai City FC will host Mohun Bagan Super Giant on December 20 in their coming ISL fixture, whereas East Bengal FC will lock horns with Odisha FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on December 22 for their next game.

Brief Scores

Mumbai City FC 0 – 0 East Bengal FC

For more information, visit our match centre: https://www.indiansuperleague.com/matchcentre/59469