Minerva holds Mumbai to a goal-less draw

The first half produced brief moments of goalmouth action. Das Sharma, under the Minerva bar, reacted to a glancing header from Thoi Singh to deny MFC in the 35th minute after the midfielder was found by Pratesh Shirodkar with a cross from the left.

Mumbai FC (MFC) lacked a punch in its attack as visiting team Minerva Punjab FC held under-pressure Santosh Kashyap’s side to a goalless draw at the Cooperage stadium. MFC had a goal disallowed for off-side and was denied on another occasion by Minerva custodian Arnab Das Sharma through a reflex save on the goal-line.

The first half produced brief moments of goalmouth action. Das Sharma, under the Minerva bar, reacted to a glancing header from Thoi Singh to deny MFC in the 35th minute after the midfielder was found by Pratesh Shirodkar with a cross from the left. The home team also close once earlier in the first half, but Nikhil Kadam blasted wide after reacting in time to get within striking distance.

Minerva faced a tough time knitting together moves. Kattimani in goal for the home team had little to do throughout the match. Brazilian Alex Silva only came on as second half substitute while Victorino Fernandes replaced Chinarao Chandrasekhar. The flair and punch seen in the two previous matches against Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan was missing.

Surinder Singh fielded four U-22 players in the visiting starting line-up, then added a fifth, Krishna Pandit, after half-time. Afghanistan defender Djelaluddin Sharitya worked hard for MFC, whose other foreigner, Anderson Silva from Brazil did not create any major impact, apart from the first-half try ruled offside.

The points split lifted the home team to ninth place after 11 matches one point ahead of cellar-placed Chennai City FC. Fans expressed displeasure at coach Santosh Kashyap’s team selection with heckling right through the game. Minerva is in sixth place, with 11 points from 11 matches, among whom five ties ended in draws, two points behind Bengaluru FC which has played one game less.