Pranjal Bhumij scored a last-minute stunner as Mumbai City held Kerala Blasters to a 1-1 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday.
Halicharan Narzary’s 24th-minute strike looked to have sealed the game for the home side, who beat ATK in the opener. But Bhumij rifled the ball into the net in the 94th minute to salvage a hard-earned draw for the Islanders, Mumbai City were earlier smashed 2-0 by Jamshedpur FC in the first match.
Confident after the away victory over two-time champions ATK in their opener, Kerala Blasters looked supremely confident as David James started with the same playing XI, while Mumbai City coach Jorge Costa made as many as four changes to the team that had begun against Jamshedpur.
Kerala came close to scoring as early as the third-minute when Seiminlen Doungel found Narzary free, with a low cross from the left but an alert Amrinder Singh came off his line to deny the former NorthEast United winger.
The hosts made full use of the flanks through Narzary and Doungel, who combined well with striker Matej Poplatnik to make life difficult for the Mumbai defenders.
Kerala eventually took the lead in the 24th minute through Narzary. It started after Nikola Krcmarevic played a wonderful backheel pass to Doungel, which released the right-winger free on goal. But he found Narzary completely unmarked and made no hesitation to pass the ball, with the 24-year-ball blasted the net to put the Blasters 1-0 ahead.
Mumbai often found themselves cramped inside their own half. Giving away possession and lacking any creative-play and will consider themselves lucky to not have conceded the second when Doungel found himself on the clear yet again in the second-half. But he sent his shot above the bar after Lalaruatthara had set him through on goal.
That chance seemed to have spurred Mumbai, who slowly eased into the game. Arnold Issko came close to scoring with their first opportunity before Bhumij blasted the net with a long-range shot in the second-last minute of added time.
Image Source: ISL