Margao: Mumbai FC rallied in the second half to hold Sporting Clube de Goa to a 1-1 draw in the return leg match of the I-League at Nehru Stadium on saturday.
Sporting Clube de Goa took the lead in the 18th minute through a penalty by Boima Karpeh but the Mumbai side came back strongly in the second half and found the equaliser in the 56th minute though old warhorse Yusif Yakubu to deny Sporting full points.
The draw denied Sporting a chance to move to second place. They now have 29 points from 18 matches to remain at the fourth place.
Mumbai FC took their tally to 20 points from 19 matches to remain at 10th place.
Mumbai FC, who needed a win badly to avoid moving to the relegation zone, started brightly with Mohammed Rafi taking the first look at the goal early in the match but rival keeper Melroy Fernandes, who made his debut today, did well to put the ball out of danger.
Sporting Clube de Goa, who did not have a good run after the I-League break collecting one point from the last three matches, needed a win to catch up table toppers Bengaluru FC. They took time to settle down and were unlucky as Rowllin Borges free-kick from the top of the box hit the bar.
Sporting built up pressure with Boima Karpeh and Vitorino combining well upfront and earned a penalty after Vitorino Fernades` shot was blocked by rival keeper Kunal Sawant and Boima Karpeh, who was lurking in the box ready to pounce on the rebound, was obstructed by keeper Kunal Sawant from scoring. Referee PH Lanthoiba awarded a penalty which Karpeh himself converted in the 18th minute.
Few minutes later, Sporting could have increased the lead but defender Gonzalo Neila saw his shot hit the post.
Sporting grew in confident after the goal as they made a series of moves with Beevan, Boima and Vitorino combining well among themselves to get two clear chances to increase the lead. First, Beevan shot out and then Vitorino`s weak shot at the goal went straight into the hands of keeper Kunal Sawant.
Mumbai FC, who had occasional forays against the rival citadel, almost equalised just before the interval after Yakubu set up Climax Lawrence inside the box. But, Lawrence`s powerful shot was blocked by Melroy Fernandes to see Sporting going into the break with 1-0 lead.
Mumbai FC started with a purpose in the second half, moving the ball well on the flanks and they found the equaliser in the 65th minute.
Mohammed Rafi, who worked on the right, was brought down by defender Chinta Chandrashekar. Kamaljeet Kumar, who took the free-kick, floated the ball into the box for Yusif Yakubu to drive into the net with three defenders failing to clear the ball