Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky expressed pride in his team as they came back from a goal down to secure a point against Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Friday.

The Islanders were eager to avenge their loss in the reverse fixture, but a resilient Jamshedpur FC opened the scoring in the 60th minute of the match through substitute Javier Siverio, who flicked in a cross from Muhammed Uvais to score his second goal of the season.

In the 74th minute, Lallianzuala Chhangte equalized for Mumbai City FC with a composed finish. Despite Jamshedpur FC forward Daniel Chima Chukwu receiving a red card in the 82nd minute, the Men of Steel managed to hold on to the scoreline until the final whistle, concluding the match 1-1.

The Islanders finished the match with 60% possession and attempted 14 shots, compared to Jamshedpur FC’s 10 shots. Kratky’s team further showcased a remarkable 81% passing accuracy.

The head coach expressed full respect for the opposition and attributed the dropped points to missed opportunities.

It was a tough game. Everyone saw it and in the end, the match was swinging left and right. Basically, it could have ended up in anything. But I think we had a very good start to the game. We had a couple of chances to score goals, one-on-one (situations) with the keeper, but unfortunately, we couldn't convert them,” stated Kratky in the post-match press conference.

He continued, “We know Jamshedpur FC is a good team and they can hurt us. And, in patches they play good football and they got rewarded, in the second half by a goal. It's always difficult when you're 60 minutes into the game, one nil down, and you're trying to help the players. But overall, once again, we showed the fighting spirit, what we have, and the power of the group. It's not easy to be one nil down and come back again.”

Lalengmawia Ralte, also known as Apuia, was in the squad after recovering from sickness. The 23-year-old was brought on with 19 minutes to go and his impact was instant. Apuia created a goal-scoring opportunity for his team during his time on the pitch and completed 10 out of his 13 attempted passes. 

Appreciating Apuia for his performance, Kratky stated, “Apuia is a quality player. We know that. However, he has returned after being unwell, so we need to get him up and running. Again, this is what we expect from players coming off the bench – whether it's Apuia or someone else, making an immediate impact. I'm very pleased to see him back, and we are all happy to have him back.

The Islanders didn’t cease their attacking efforts until the very last minute of the game, showcasing a strong fighting spirit to come back from a 1-0 deficit. Their aggression made it clear that Kratky’s men weren’t settling for a point but were determined to secure all three.

Proud of his players, the Czech-Australian tactician shared, “We need to be together on the same page and we need to work from the first minute to last minute. And they're doing it and they're getting rewarded now. So, that's what I love when I work with the team like this and they get fighting spirit, they stick together and it's very hard to beat us. This is what I love, you know. So very proud of the group, and we just need to maintain it. We just need to keep working until the end.”

With the victory against the Men of Steel, Mumbai City FC has reached the summit of the league table with 36 points from their 18 matches, holding a one-point lead over second-placed Odisha FC.

When asked about how he feels sitting atop the table, the 42-year-old responded, “I think if we deserve it, we will get it. We are here to fight for the title. That's our journey. We want to win. We need our fans to support us in our home because the boys need them, you know, in these crucial moments.”

“But again, it will be a fight until the last game. So game by game, now we focus on the home game (against NorthEast United FC). But again, don't look at it too much because it can change, can swing in two games going in different directions. So we just have to keep working. But, also enjoy the moment,” Kratky signed off.