Mumbai: Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters FC played out a 1-1 draw in their Indian Super League (ISL) encounter at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Thursday.
Raphael Messi Bouli (75') put Kerala in the lead but Mumbai hit back with an Amine Chermiti strike (77') to share the spoils.
Mumbai and Kerala are without a win in their last six matches and find themselves at sixth and eighth spot on the table, respectively, with one point separating them.
Chasing their second win of the season, Kerala showed plenty of intent but lacked an end product even as they dominated the early stages.
A 12th minute Raju Gaikwad throw-in found its way towards Seityasen Singh who shot wide from a one-on-one position with only Mumbai goalkeeper Amrinder Singh to beat.
Bouli, who led the Kerala Blasters attack in the absence of Bartholomew Ogbeche, was a handful for the Mumbai defence. Midway through the half, the Cameroonian striker pulled off a brilliant overhead effort from inside the box off Jessel Carneiro's cross from the left, but was denied a goal-of-the-season contender by Amrinder, who kept the shot out.
The game evened up after the change of ends, with Mumbai turning more aggressive in their approach.
The Islanders were brilliantly denied twice by Rehenesh who kept Kerala Blasters in the contest. The goalkeeper was quick to rush off his line to get to Chermiti's dangerous long pass before the intended target, Bipin Singh, could receive it inside the box.
After impressing throughout the game with his movement upfront, Bouli broke the deadlock for the visitors in the 75th minute. Jeakson Singh dribbled into the box and forced a save off Amrinder but Jessel delivered the rebound across the goal on a plate for the striker whose left-footed strike found the back of the net.
However, the away side's celebrations didn't last long as Chermiti came up with an equaliser two minutes later. Paulo Machado headed a Sarthak Golui cross into the path of an unmarked Chermiti who beat Rehenesh on his second attempt following a scramble inside the box, ensuring the two teams shared the spoils.