“If I concede a goal or save a goal; it does not matter… as long as I can leave the pitch with the knowledge that I gave everything,” were the words of Mumbai City FC goalkeeper Subrata Pal a day before his side faced Delhi Dynamos at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Friday.
The calm words belied what was at stake — a win for the capital club would have seen them top the table, a win for the visitors would see them climb to second from sixth. On Friday, he conceded one in a 1-1 draw.
It is said, the hardest job on the pitch is that of the man between the sticks. But that argument was null and void if the opening 45 minutes were anything to go by. Pal watched most of the game play out in midfield, and remained untested when the ball did come his way.
Pal made his first save in the 54th minute, the 28-year-old pushed a free kick from Dynamos midfielder Florent Malouda onto the crossbar.
Watching their opponents almost score seemed to be all the impetus Mumbai needed. Former Lyon, Monaco, and West Ham forward Frederic Piquionne rounded Delhi keeper Antonio Doblas Santana in the 70th to make it 1-0 for the visitors. The three points were within reach, but 20 minutes remained.
Substitute Robin Singh called Pal into action again in the 79th with a glancing header, but he had none of it.
Singh, however, did the damage in injury time with a close range shot to make it 1-1. An outstretched Pal lay in dismay.