Mumbai City FC are back on top of the ISL after a 2-0 win over Kerala Blasters FC on Saturday. Early goals from Adam Le Fondre (3' P) and Hugo Boumous (11') saw City extend their unbeaten run to seven games.
Both teams made a couple of changes to their line-ups, Boumous and Mandar Rao Dessai returned to Sergio Lobera's starting XI while for Kerala, Costa Nhamoinesu and Lalthathanga Khawlhring were named ahead of Abdul Hakku and Rahul KP.
The first goal came from a Kerala error. Boumous latched on to a Vicente Gomez back-pass and Nhamoinesu brought him down in the box, and the ref awarded a penalty. Le Fondre scored his sixth goal of the campaign despite Albino Gomes getting a leg to the ball.
Mumbai doubled their lead in the 11th minute after another defensive mishap. A goal kick, taken by Ahmed Jahouh, found its way past the entire Kerala team to Boumous. He ran into the box, and passed it into the back of the net.
Kerala took time to get into the game but soon had a couple of presentable attempts. Amrinder first denied Gomez with a diving save and later stopped Sahal Abdul Samad's effort, the latter a one-one-one after a Mumbai error in defence. They created more chances in the first half, but did not trouble Amrinder much further. Mumbai, on the other hand, had the luxury to sit back and counterattack, but they squandered a couple of superb chances, an off-colour Le Fondre responsible for both.
Kerala put up an improved performance in the second half. They created chances early and nearly pulled a goal back in the 55th minute but Jordan Murray's effort was ruled offside.
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With less than 20 minutes on the clock, Mumbai had the chance to further extend their lead when they were awarded yet another penalty after Boumous was fouled in the box. But this time, Albino read it right and his strong right arm denied Boumous, for his third penalty save (out of four) this season.
At the other end, a much busier Amrinder came up with a brilliant save when he parried Gomez's long-range shot which brushed off the crossbar. The keeper did exceptionally well to help his side maintain their fifth clean sheet of the season.
Mumbai City, 2 points clear of ATK Mohun Bagan atop the table, take on Bengaluru FC on the 5th. Kerala Blasters, languishing in ninth, face fellow strugglers Odisha FC next on the 7th.