New Delhi, Apr 20 (IBNS) Prior to the kick-off, one had to look back at ONGC's Home record. Not consisting of any big names and supposedly an easy meat on paper, ONGC have been almost invincible at the Ambedkar Stadium in the 2012/13 edition of the I-League.
As things stand now, if East Bengal don't win the title, they may look back at the ONGC match which they lost at the Ambedkar Stadium; if even Churchill Brothers don't eventually win their title, they may also look back at the ONGC match in which they were held in New Delhi.
Even defending champions Dempo SC will admit that it was their 1-3 defeat against ONGC at the Ambedkar Stadium which started their slide.
The trend continued. An injury-time goal by Yusif Yakubu helped Mumbai FC to earn a point against ONGC at the Ambedkar Stadium on Saturday (April 20).
Earlier, Yusa Katsumi had converted from the spot to put ONGC in the lead in the 18th minute. The match marked the end of ONGC's home-matches in the Capital.
Courtesy the result, both teams moved to 31 points from 25 matches.
ONGC's first chance came as early as the fifth minute. Kailash Patil's deft turn caught rival defender Kamaljeet Kumar on the wrong foot and the former was brought down. But off the resultant free-kick, Yusa Katsumi's try sailed inches over.
A couple of minutes later, Yusa was brought down by rival defender Peter Costa and this time David Lalrinmuana's free-kick was way off the mark.
Mumbai FC came back strongly and forced a goalline clearance in the 12th minute -- Justin Stephen's header off a Nicolas Rodrigues corner was cleared off the line by Sachin Gawas.
ONGC surged ahead in the 18th minute. A David cross from the right was handled inside the box by Kamaljeet and Yusa gleefully converted from the spot to make it 1-0.
Mumbai FC's best chance in the first-half came in the 31st minute. Peter Costa set up Evans Quao inside the box but his prompt shot was palmed away by ONGC goalkeeper Rehenesh.
Yusa, who till then, was creating problems for the Mumbai FC defenders, limped off in the 35th minute and was substituted by Naresh Aula. ONGC, thereafter, looked a bit wayward.
Changing over, Mumbai FC stayed the more dominant force. They did break into the rival box a number of times but the ONGC defenders managed to keep them in bay.
Their easiest chance came in the 58th minute when John Coutinho, all in control, failed to tap it over an onrushing Rehenesh from the top of the box. Much to the frustration of the Mumbai FC bench, the ball sailed over.
Three minutes later, Yasif Yakubu failed to direct his free-header into the net off a Nicolas centre down the left.
ONGC who depended on counter-attacks, also had their chances. In the 65th minute, former India International Jatin Bisht's header off a David corner bounced off the post.
ONGC who had been pressing hard just couldn't convert the chances which came their way. Substitute Kuttymani's miss in the 88th minute summed up the day for them. With all the time in the World, Kuttymani's header off a Peter Costa cross went over.
But the drama was in store. The lanky Abhishek Yadav set up Yakubu in the clear and the veteran striker banged it in to the right of Rehenesh in the 94th minute. The match ended 1-1.
The last time the two teams had met, Mumbai FC had scraped past ONGC by a solitary goal at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.
(Image courtesy: AIFF Media)