Pune: Mumbai FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Sporting Clube de Goa in their opening match of the I-League football tournament at the Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex on Saturday.
A first-half injury time strike by winger John Coutinho (45+1st minute) gave Mumbai FC the lead before a second half penalty from substitute Kalu Ogba (77th) saw both teams share the spoils.
With this draw both teams earn a point each and stay joint 3rd in the table. The hosts sustained a lot of attacks from Sporting in the opening exchanges before taking the time to settle.
Sporting, in the meantime, created the first chance at the half-hour mark through striker Boima Karpeh. His shot on the volley from inside the box was saved brilliantly by Mumbai FC custodian Kunal Sawant who did well to stretch and push the ball onto the vertical and deny a certain goal.
Earlier too, Sawant did well pulling off back-to-back saves to Sporting at bay.
However, it was the hosts who took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Kamaljeet Kumar's cross in from the left saw Coutinho, ahead of Sporting defender Rovan Pereira, control and smash home an angular grounder from the edge of the box to send the home fans into frenzy.
Mumbai FC took their one goal advantage into the break. The second-half saw both teams come out of their shell and move forward. After a few half chances at either end, Sporting finally managed to equalise midway through the second half.
Mumbai FC's defender Ritesh Perambra brought down Karpeh inside the box and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot. Substitute Ogba on for playmaker Pratesh Shirodkar stepped up and slotted home the equalizer.
The final quarter saw the hosts push ahead in search of the winner, but were denied by some last-ditch defending by Sporting.