Two-time champion Chennaiyin FC opened its account in ISL-6 with a goalless draw against Mumbai City FC in its first home game of the season at the Nehru stadium, in Chennai, on Sunday.
It was a tale of missed chances as both sides could not capitalise on the opportunities they had. The Diwali crowd though was treated to some quality football as both teams attacked, the backlines had a fair bit of work to do and the custodians did have a good game too.
Brazilian Rafael Crivellaro had his chances in the opening half, but could not find the net. He kept pushing forward at every given opportunity before an injury resulted in him being substituted in the 75th minute.
Mumbai mid-fielder Serge Kevyn had a good chance in the 67th minute, but wasted it. At the other end their defence was solid as Sarthak Golui made an important block in the 85th minute.
In a bid to gain more control, Mumbai City head coach Jorge Costa brought in Portuguese midfielder Paulo Machado for
Raynier Fernandes. The substitute almost had an impact when his pass found Kevyn in space down the left, but his first-time shot was
tipped away by Chennaiyin custodian Vishal Kaith.
John Gregorys side had to change plans after Crivellaro went down injured after a tough challenge from Souvik, which forced the Englishman to bring on Masih Saighani.
After a lull, Chennaiyin started to pile pressure and almost got the break in the 80th minute. A good passing move saw Anirudh Thapa play in Nerijus Valskis just inside the penalty box but the lanky forward’s shot went wide.
The home team continued to threaten on the counter but a combination of poor decision-making and a last-gasp defending by Mumbai City kept the scores level.
Though Mumbai City were reduced to 10 men in injury time after Souvik was sent off for a cynical foul on Thoi Singh, Chennaiyin could not force a winner.
After the 0-3 defeat to FC Goa in the opener, Chennaiyin has got among the points with this draw and will look for further improvement in its next home game against ATK on October 30.