A late goal from Amine Chermiti saw Mumbai City FC stun Kerala Blasters FC in a closely-fought Hero Indian Super League clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Thursday.
The teams had several half-chances to break the deadlock but lacked an end product for most of the game until Chermiti's smart 82nd-minute finish settled the contest.
While the result meant Mumbai start their season with a win, it was also their first-ever win over Kerala Blasters in Kochi.
Kerala Blasters struggled to test Amrinder Singh early on while Mumbai resorted to aerial balls and floating crosses into the box at the other end.
A Diego Carlos cross into the box from the right flank in the 10th minute had the home defence under pressure but Mohamed Larbi's weak header fell straight into the hands of goalkeeper Bilal Khan.
Mumbai continued to threaten and fight
Just when it seemed like spoils would be shared in Kochi, Chermiti stunned the Kerala crowd with a late goal. Souvik Chakrabarti played a low cross into the box from the right flank which the Kerala defence failed to clear. The Tunisian striker, who was waiting in the centre, slotted the ball into the net with a fantastic first-time shot.
In a last-gasp attempt to get back into the game, Ogbeche latched on to a chip by Sahal Abdul Samad inside the box but the Nigerian's swivelling strike from close-range was miraculously saved by Amrinder as Mumbai returned home with three points.
-- Hyderabad take on ATK --
It is baptism by fire for the debutants Huderabad Football Club as they take on the former champions Atlético de Kolkata in their opening round at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan today.
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