Mumbai City stun Kerala Blasters with late strike
Kochi: A late goal from Amine Chermiti saw Mumbai City FC stun Kerala Blasters FC in a closely fought Hero Indian Super League clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Thursday.
The teams had several half-chances to break the deadlock but lacked an end product for most of the game until Chermiti's smart 82nd-minute finish settled the contest.
While the result meant Mumbai start their season with a win, it was also their first-ever win over Kerala Blasters in Kochi. Kerala Blasters struggled to test Amrinder Singh early on while Mumbai resorted to aerial balls and floating crosses into the box at the other end. A Diego Carlos cross into the box from the right flank in the 10th minute had the home defence under pressure but Mohamed Larbi's weak header fell straight into the hands of goalkeeper Bilal Khan. Mumbai continued to threaten and Carlos outpaced Jessel Carneiro on the right flank again in the 19th minute. This time around, the former FC Pune City player attempted a powerful strike from a tight angle, forcing Bilal Khan to come up with a reflex save at his near post.
At the other end, a foul by Souvik Chakrabarti allowed Sergio Cidoncha to swing a free-kick into the box from the left a few minutes later. Bartholomew Ogbeche got to the end of it at the far post but headed wide from close. The hosts had another chance at the stroke of half-time when Cidoncha whipped another one in from a similar position, but Jairo's powerful header was saved by Amrinder Singh at the near post. Mumbai started on the front foot after the change of ends and went close in the 53rd minute. Larbi's cross from the left found Modou Sougou unmarked in the centre of the box but the Senegalese striker's first-time shot flew wide.