Both Mumbai City F.C. and Kerala Blasters needed a win in match 32 of the Indian Super League on Thursay to come out of the rut and get their derailed season back on track with three points. When Messi Bouli's breakthrough arrived in the 75th minute, it looked like Kerala was finally going notch up a win. Before commentators could even finish talking about the first goal, Amine Chermiti, from the home side, slotted home just two minutes later set the stadium ablaze. It ended 1-1 at full-time but the game had it all, from heroic solo efforts to goalkeeping brilliance on both ends.
AS IT HAPPENED| Mumbai vs Kerala
Let's have a look at a few talking points from the game:
1)Messi- the lone fighter
Kerela Blasters' striker Messi Bouli replaced an injured Bartholomew Ogbeche for this clash and he had huge shoes to fill in. He exceeded everyone's expectations and produced the performance of the night. He relentlessly attacked up front, including an overhead kick that almost found the back of the net. A couple of his shots, from the weak left foot, flew over the ball before he slotted one home to break the deadlock.
Apart from his shooting prowess, he showcased exceptional speed in the left flank to make threatening runs inside the box. He kept the Mumbai City defenders busy throughout with a total of five shots, two of them being on target.
2) T.P. Rehenesh emerges on top of the 'keeper battle!
Both the goalkeepers, T.P. Rehenesh of Kerala and Amrinder Singh of Mumbai, played an instrumental role in restricting their opposition to side to one goal apiece.
Earlier in the match, Amrinder Singh was kept busy by a flurry of shots from Messi. He also intercepted numerous crosses by Kerala skipper Sergio Cidoncha from the left flank. Amrinder produced a moment of brilliance when he denied Messi from point-blank range, parrying away the bicycle kick.
Despite heroics from custodian on either ends, it was Rehenesh who proved to be the better keeper of the two. Kerela Blasters' defence played a high line on many occasions, enticing long ball in from the back of the Mumbai defence. The likes of Rowllin Borges and Subhasish Bose obliged and supplied sumptuous balls to the Bipin Singh and Chermiti. Just when the moved looked threatening, Rehenesh would charge off his line and run forward to save or clear the ball. His sweep-keeper moves was one of the main reasons behind the end result today.
He made a total of four saves and five clearances, as opposed to Amrinder's three and one respectively.
3) End to end stuff
The tempo of the match didn't drop for more than a couple minutes at stretch through the entire duration of the match. While Cidoncha, Mohamad and Jeakson Singh combined with Messi with regular supplies on one end, Mohamed Larbi, Modou Sougou and Amine Chermiti made threatening moves on the other.
Kerala used the flanks to good use, while Mumbai midfielders relied more on long, diagonal balls to Sougou.
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