Mumbai City FC and Hyderabad FC in action (Twitter|Hyderabad FC)
Hyderabad: Mumbai City FC wasted a wonderful opportunity to grab the fourth spot in the Indian Super League (ISL) after they were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom placed Hyderabad at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium here on Friday.
Two penalties decided the game. Mohamed Larbi’s spot kick in the 43rd minute gave Mumbai City the lead but Marko Stankovic levelled from the spot deep in added time.
Mumbai are fifth with 20 points from 14 games while Hyderabad are rooted to the bottom with just six points from 14 matches.
Despite securing a point after losing their last five games, Hyderabad are on an 11-match winless run now. They need four points from their remaining four matches to not become the worst team in ISL’s history in terms of total points earned.
Mumbai City coach Jorge Costa and Hyderabad interim head coach Javier Gurri Lopez deployed their teams in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Mumbai were attacking from the start while Hyderabad looked more like a 4-4-2. The hosts were desperate to hold on to a clean sheet and possibly some points.
Apart from the goals, the game was cagey and not very entertaining.
Mumbai were awarded a penalty in the 42nd minute. The ball was chipped into the box for Serge Kevyn to chase on the right-hand side. Nikhil Poojary and Adil Khan were trying to stop him. As Serge Kevyn looked to get his foot to the ball, Nikhil Poojary's hand deflected it away. The referee spotted it and blew the whistle.
Poojary was shown a yellow card and a penalty was awarded to Mumbai. Mohamed Larbi stepped up and hit the ball into the bottom right corner. Keeper Laxmikant Kattimani dived in the right direction but could not do anything about it.
Mumbai had plenty of chances to increase the lead but were wasteful in front of the goal. The one time they did put the ball in the net in the first half from a cross, it was called back for having gone over the byline.
Hyderabad did have a few opportunities but were not clinical either. The hosts played much better in the second half.
Hyderabad were awarded a penalty deep into added time. Pratik Chaudhari committed a foul inside the penalty area on Bobo in the 93rd minute. With only a minute remaining for the final whistle, Mumbai players were not happy but the referee was firm on his decision. Marko Stankovic stepped up and converted with ease.
It was a wasted opportunity for Mumbai City, who could have grabbed 4th spot with a victory. Hyderabad have grabbed a point after a four-game losing streak.