Mumbai City FC returned to the top of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) standings after a 2-0 win over Kerala Blasters FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Saturday. Adam le Fondre gave the Islanders the lead from the penalty spot early on and Hugo Boumous netted their second of the night in the 11th minute before missing a penalty in the second half.
It took Mumbai just three minutes to take the lead after a stray back pass by Kerala led to Costa Nhamoinesu fouling Boumous in the box and conceding a penalty. Le Fondre obligingly stepped up to the spot and struck the penalty straight down the middle to give the Islanders an early lead.
Mumbai then doubled their lead in 11th minute after a freekick from deep in his own half by Ahmed Jahouh found Boumous, who was through on goal and made no mistake with an unerring finish across Kerala’s goalkeeper.
They could have made it three just six minutes later when Boumous put Mandar Rao Dessai through on goal after some brilliant build-up play by Mumbai. Dessai’s shot though failed to test the goalkeeper and flew over the crossbar.
Kerala registered their first shot of the game on target in the 28th minute when a Vicente Gomez effort from just outside the box forced Mumbai’s goalkeeper Amrinder Singh into a save. They had another opportunity to score just after the half hour mark when Sahal Abdul Samad pressured Mumbai’s defence and weaved his way past a few of their players to draw another save from Amrinder.
The Blasters’ best opportunity of pulling one back in the first half came in the 42nd minute when a long throw into the box was flicked on to Lalthathanga Khawlhring, who couldn’t quite apply the finishing touch.
Mumbai too had a good chance of adding to their lead at the end of the first half. Bipin Singh crossed the ball into the box from the left for Boumous, who unselfishly set up le Fondre only for the Englishman to miss the target as the Islanders had to be content with their 2-0 lead going into the break.
Kerala began the second period looking to take the fight to Mumbai and they got into some threatening areas. Khawlhring had a good chance to score a goal for the Blasters in the 54th minute after a smart pass released him down the right. He managed to get a powerful shot away but a last-ditch block by Mourtada Fall came to the Islanders’ rescue.
The Blasters thought that they had scored a couple minutes later when Jordan Murray bundled the ball into the back of the net from a corner. Unfortunately for Kerala, Murray was flagged offside by the linesman and the goal was disallowed.
Kerala continued to throw players forward in search of a goal but a Sandeep Singh tackle on Boumous inside the box was adjudged to be a penalty and slightly halted their momentum. Boumous took on the responsibility of taking the penalty on this occasion and went low to the left only to be denied by Kerala’s custodian Albino Gomes.
Gomez then almost caught Amrinder by surprise in goal with an improvised effort that was heading into the net. However, Amrinder managed to get his hands on the ball and tipped it on to the crossbar to keep his clean sheet.
He was called into action again in the 78th minute when Murray played Sahal through on goal with a brilliant pass. Once again though Amrinder came to the rescue and made the save to deny Kerala. The Blasters continued to persevere in search of a goal till the final whistle, but Mumbai maintained their shape and ran down the clock to secure the win.
iSL Media Release