Substitute Leo Costa scored a screamer with just two minutes left on the clock as Mumbai City FC rescued a point against Chennaiyin FC with a 1-1 draw in the Hero Indian Super League at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadiumin Chennai on Wednesday.
Jeje Lalpekhlua’s second half strike seemed like it would be enough for Chennaiyin FC to edge past Mumbai City FC and move joint top alongside Atletico de Kolkata but Leo Costa came off the bench and made all the difference and won Mumbai’s first ever point in ISL against Chennaiyin FC.
In the four previous clashes between the two teams, Chennaiyin FC had emerged triumphant in all games and for most part of their last clash, seemed like the better side. With coach Marco Materazzi suspended for this clash for his ‘misconduct against opponents or persons other than match officials’ as defined by the AIFF Disciplinary Committee.
For the opening 45 minutes, Chennaiyin FC dominated but could not break the deadlock. Maurizio Peluso was in fine form up front and seemed to create the best chance for Jeje in the 14th minute when he slid a ball to the Indian striker but Gerson Vieira did well to come from behind and clear the ball.
Peluso then had Mumbai goalkeeper Albino Gomes at full-stretch to keep a free-kick away in one of the six shots that Chennaiyin had in the first session.
Mumbai City did not have any shot on target in the first session but marquee player Diego Forlan, in the 36th minute, made space for himself just outside the box and let go of a powerful shot which Chennaiyin goalie Duwayne Kerr did well to tip over for a corner.
Chennaiyin FC had their noses in front in the second session. Peluso’s corner-kick should have been cleared by the Mumbai defence but two defenders simply watched and another one missed the flight of the ball, allowing Jeje space to head the ball past the goalkeeper in the 51st minute.
The defending champions should have killed the match in the 72nd minute but Dudu Omagbemi missed from close range.
Mumbai City made the best use of that let-off and found the equaliser in the 88th minute. Leo Costa took the ball from about 25 yards out and launched a powerful left-footer which found the top corner of the net, past a diving Kerr.
The draw left Mumbai City on the second spot with 12 points, the same as leaders Atletico de Kolkata, while Chennaiyin FC have 10 points in their kitty and are sandwiched between Delhi Dynamos on third and NorthEast United FC on fifth spot, both with the same points.