What is it with Mumbai FC that mighty Mahindra United are unable to put it across them over two seasons? Well, Mahindra coach Derrick Pereira is still groping for answers after five encounters between the two sides, as the 14th round I-League local derby, ended in a goalless draw at the Cooperage in Mumbai on Friday.
The promoted side had won the first leg encounter 1-0 but were at the receiving end in the second session before holding out with a clean slate.
Mumbai FC move up to 23 points but continue to remain in fourth place while Mahindra have 16 points, the same as JCT, but move up to seventh position as they have scored more goals than the Punjab side despite having the same goal difference.
Friday's match was a fairly interesting affair and both teams created a fair amount of chances while missing a sitter each to break the deadlock. It was however goalkeeper and man-of-the-match Kalyan Chaubey whose saves helped Mumbai FC keep a clean slate. He did well to keep out a sizzling Steven Dias free kick in the 61st minute but was lucky when rival defender Lamine Tamba headed the rebound against the crossbar before the ball was cleared away.
Three minutes later Chaubey again rose to the occasion while blocking a Douhou Pierre flick in a 1-2-1 situation after the tricky Mahindra midfielder had made a searing run into the box.
At the other end, Subhasish Roy Choudhury too had some work to do and he also extended himself by tipping over a fierce long ranger from medio Noel Wilson for a corner in the 15th minute. But luck was on his side too as Mumbai FC's ageing striker Felix Aboagye missed a sitter when he ballooned the ball over the bar from point blank range in the 29th minute after lanky Abhishek Yadav had headed down a Wilson free kick.
Mahindra may have reason to feel aggrieved as Kamaljeet Kumar inadvertently blocked a Dias header with his hand as it was goalward bound in the 37th minute but referee Franky Fernandes (Goa) waved play on.
In the second session Mahindra seized the initiative as their rivals seemed to tire out but were unable to translate their superiority into goals, a failing that has continued to haunt them for the greater part of the season.