Champions Mumbai City are at risk of failing to qualify for the Indian Super League playoff finals. The Islanders were at the end of a 3-1 defeat by Kerala Blasters on Wednesday night at the Tilak Maidan that left them out of the top four. Two points currently separate the two sides, with Kerala in front – but things could swing on the final matchday if results go Mumbai’s way.
On Wednesday night, meanwhile, Kerala Blasters took the lead 19 minutes in. After Mumbai City failed to deal convincingly with an opposition attack, the ball fell to Sahal Abdul Samad outside the box, and the midfielder dribbled his way through a horde of bodies before finding the bottom corner.
Igor Angulo and Bipin Singh attempted to restore parity with attempts at goal at the other end – but nothing came to pass. Instead, Mumbai City captain Mourtada Fall presented a chance to Alvaro Vazquez to double Kerala’s lead from the spot in the first-half stoppage time after he had clipped the Spaniard inside his box. Vazquez stepped up and scored past Mohammad Nawaz with ease to put his side in the driving seat.
Mumbai City enjoyed a spell of dominance after the break, but, again, their failure to make their chances count allowed the opposition to settle back into their stride. To make matters worse, just as the clock struck 60, a horrible mistake from Nawaz – who rushed out to clear Fall’s back pass but ended up missing the ball – allowed Vazquez to tap in from close range, Kerala’s third of the night.
Ten minutes later, Diego Mauricio went down easily under the challenge of Ruivah Hormipam inside the box, and the referee pointed to the spot for the second time on the night – on this occasion in favor of the reigning champions. Mauricio stepped up himself and scored to make it 3-1. However, his goal proved to be nothing but consolation in the end, as Des Buckingham’s men came away from Tilak Maidan with a humbling defeat and their playoff hopes in jeopardy.