Kerala Blasters FC and Mumbai City FC battled it out in a virtual shootout for a spot in the semi-finals of the rescheduled 2021-22 Indian Super League match at Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa on 2nd March. Two goals from Álvaro Vazquez and a daring solo goal from Sahal Abdul Samad gave Ivan Vukomanovic three decisive points as the Kerala Blasters completed their first-ever championship double over the Islanders.
For MCFC, Diego Mauricio scored a consolation goal from a spot in the 71st minute. Mumbai City FC took one ball away after Diego Mauricio fell in the penalty area due to what appeared to be a push from Ruiv Hormipam. Still, when Kerala Blasters FC appealed the decision, the referee pointed to a floppy disk. The ISL game could have taken on a very different character if Mumbai City had taken a penalty in the 7th minute for what appeared to be an obvious foul on Brad Inman. The game got a bit physical as time ran out as tackles flew by from both sides.
Rahul only had two touches on the ball, and it had no real impact on the match. An unsuccessful interference by Cassio Gabriel resulted in Sahal Samad stealing the ball from him and then spinning and spinning past the Brazilian and a couple of other MCFC jerseys before hitting a low shot past Mohammad Nawaz. Defenders may have blinded him in front of Mohammad Nawaz. Kerala Blasters FC scored a game-tying moment in the 19th minute when Sahal made his way into space at the edge of the floor and then hit a low shot.
KBFC also scored another goal early in the second period, but Lunas’ outstanding effort from outside the penalty area was well reflected by Mohammad Nawaz. MCFC attempted to arrange an immediate comeback, but this did not happen as KBFC doubled the lead, albeit from a penalty after Murtada brought Sahal Samad into the box. Vazquez then converted the penalty in the added time of the first half.
Kerala Blasters improved their chances of reaching the semi-finals with a 3-1 win over Mumbai City. A hit means that Kerala Blasters FC gains only one point to reach the semi-finals, and the islanders’ fate is no longer in their hands. Mumbai have conceded 20 goals this season, surpassing Mumbai’s 18 goals conceded at the 20-21 Hero ISL stage in just 11 games, and Mumbai manager Des Buckingham is hopeful he can improve his side’s defence, as they have conceded 29 goals in total. Kerala Blasters, underdogs, played one of the best games Kerala Blasters had this season when they beat Mumbai City 3-0 when the two sides last met in December.