Vasco (Goa), March 5 (IANS) Mumbai FC held Salgaocar FC 2-2 in a keenly contested I-League match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Saturday.
Salgaocar took the lead twice through Jackichand Singh (23rd minute) and Brian Mascarenhas (49th). Both Mumbai FC goals came through penalties with Sushil Singh (38th) and Ryuki Kozawa (65th) converting from the spot.
Mumbai thus continue to hold onto the fifth spot with 11 points from 10 matches. Salgaocar are second from bottom in the nine-team table with eight points.
Both teams were equally matched in the first half although both sets of forwards struggled to find that decisive pass in the final third.
After a couple of early chances went abegging, Jackichand put the hosts ahead when the Mumbai defenders reacted slowly to a lob into the penalty box by Reagan Singh. The ball bounced favourably for Jackichand who found the net with a fine side-footed finish.
The goal seemed to perk up the hosts and Boithang Haokip nearly doubled their advantage after dribbling past his marker on the edge of the box before his left-footed curler brushed the far post.
But the visitors came back into the match before half-time when Salgaocar conceeded a penalty with Reagan bringing down Sushil inside the box. Sushil stepped up to send Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit Singh the wrong way and even up the issue.
Salgaocar regained the lead after the break when Mascarenhas’ attempted cross from the left flank evaded Mumbai custodian Pawan Kumar’s outstretched hands to dip in at the far corner.
Pawan avoided further calamity for Mumbai in the 57th minute when he dived to his left to keep out a low header from Calvin Mbarga.
The visitors kept on the pressure on the Salgaocar defence and were rewarded for their efforts with another penalty when the referee adjudged Lenny Pereira to have handled the ball on the goal-line.
The decision infuriated Karanjit and the former JCT player was lucky not to be shown a red card after he pushed the referee a couple of times and engaged in a heated altercation.were in the thick of things now as Pratik’s two attempts on target were saved off the line, first from Eric Brown’s flag-kick and the next one off the rebound of Brian’s block just in front of the goal-line.
When order was finally restored, Kozawa stepped up to convert the spot kick, placing in the lower right corner. Karanjit jumped the correct way but the ball evaded his fingertips by mere inches.
Mumbai turned a bit defensive after that and the Salgaocar forwards were reduced to trying their luck from distance.