In a heart-stopping encounter at the Kalinga Stadium, Mumbai City FC managed to maintain their unbeaten start to the 2023-24 Indian Super League (ISL) season, clawing their way to a 2-2 draw against Odisha FC. The pulsating match was a rollercoaster ride for fans on both sides, as goals, near misses, and moments of brilliance unfolded.
From the very first minute, the match was characterized by a fiery intensity, with Jorge Pereyra Díaz charging down on Moroccan midfielder Ahmed Jahouh. The physicality set the tone for what would become an enthralling contest.
The Islanders, as Mumbai City FC is known, were determined to seize the initiative. In the 15th minute, Akash played a crucial role in initiating a promising move that was cleared by Odisha’s defense under pressure.
However, it was Greg Stewart who provided one of the standout moments of the first half. In the 40th minute, the Scottish midfielder danced past opponents, only to be brought down for a free-kick. Stewart’s swiveling effort from the resulting set piece narrowly missed the target.
Just before halftime, Rostyn Griffiths showcased defensive brilliance for Mumbai City, thwarting a promising Odisha attack. The Brazilian Diego had seemingly gotten past Griffiths, but the Australian’s recovery was nothing short of magnificent.
The first-half deadlock was broken in injury time when Jerry capitalized on a goalkeeping mishap, tapping in the loose ball to give Odisha the lead. The collision between Mumbai’s Nawaz and Akash in this sequence left the goalkeeper nursing a head injury.
Mumbai City came out with renewed energy in the second half, and it didn’t take long for them to level the score. In the 47th minute, Rostyn Griffiths powered in a header from a corner delivered by Greg Stewart, catching Odisha’s Amrinder off-guard.
With momentum firmly on their side, Mumbai City continued to apply pressure on Odisha. In the 58th minute, a long clearance by Nawaz created another opportunity for Greg Stewart, but Amrinder made a crucial save to keep his team in the game.
Mumbai City’s coach, Des Buckingham, made his first substitution in the 60th minute when Vikram Partap Singh replaced Bipin Singh. The attacking intent from the Islanders was palpable.
In the 77th minute, Jahouh’s quick free-kick led to a penalty for Odisha, as Nawaz was adjudged to have brought down Krishna. The Odisha striker converted the penalty to give his team a 2-1 lead.
As the clock ticked down, Mumbai City piled on the pressure in search of an equalizer. In the 88th minute, Jayesh Rane, making his debut for the club, delivered a pinpoint cross for Jorge Pereyra Díaz, who displayed poacher-like instincts to head the ball into the net, leveling the score at 2-2.
The match had its fair share of drama, with seven minutes of stoppage time added on. Mumbai City continued to press forward, but Vikram’s late effort went wide.
The referee’s final whistle signaled the end of an exhilarating game of football that had fans on the edge of their seats. Mumbai City FC will now shift their focus to continental commitments, as they prepare to face PFC Navbahor in the AFC Champions League on October 3 in Namangan, Uzbekistan.