Gangtok, January 10, 2013
A stoppage time equalizer from mercurial striker Yusuf Yakubu saw Mumbai FC escaping with a 2-2 draw against United Sikkim on January 9 in a thrilling I-League match here at Paljor Stadium.
Yakubu had given Mumbai FC the lead in the 10th minute but United Sikkim responded with two quick goals in the 15th minute and 16th minute through Nadong Bhutia and Linekar Machado.
Having being outplayed for most periods of the match played in almost freezing conditions, Mumbai FC was rescued once again by Yakubu in the final 40 seconds of added
“That’s why we have roped in Yakubu in our side. Everyone was saying that he has gone old but we know what he ca n do. We need an experienced person to guide our young players and Yakubu is the right person”, said Mumbai FC manager Henry Picardo.
A hopeful punt from the midfield was punched out by United Sikkim goalkeeper Monotosh Ghosh who also landed out of position in the process. The rebound was swept in again by Mumbai FC players which fortunately landed nicely for Yakubu.
The experienced striker showed composure to neatly place the ball into the United Sikkim net from a difficult angle sending the home crowd into disbelief on conceding a goal yet again in injury time.
Before the calamity struck, United Sikkim was outplaying the fifth ranked team but could not find the insurance goal having notched up two goals in rapid succession.
A great cross by Munmun T Lugon from the left field was headed across by the smallest player in the ground, Nima Tamang right into the path of onrushing Nadong Bhutia who tapped the ball into the Mumbai FC net.
One minute after the equalizer, Tamang sent a vicious cross from the right side an Bhutia jumped highest to connect the ball which crashed into the second bar. Winger Linekar Machado responded quickly to poke the ball into the empty net.
From then on, United Sikkim had at least five golden chances to put the game beyond Mumbai FC but poor finishing let them down and ultimately, conceded the heartbreaking
equalizer. This is for the fourth time in I-League and second successive match that the Gangtok side club has let in a goal in injury time.
As he had said yesterday, Mumbai FC manager Henry Picardo pointed out that it is the immaturity of United Sikkim players not to protect its lead or concede a goal in final moments. Our players found it difficult to find their rhythm in these cold conditions
here and we are happy that we got one point, he said.
United Sikkim coach Nathan Hall said his players should have scored more given the chances they created in the match. The players worked hard and yet again, we did not get the desired result, he said.
With this seventh draw in 14 matches, United Sikkim stands rooted in the 13th position with only 10 points.