Kerala Blasters FC take on Mumbai City FC in match 30 of the Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
Both Mumbai City and Kerala Blasters were held to goalless draws by FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos respectively in their previous games three days back.
Mumbai City is fourth in the points table with ten points in seven games, while Kerala Blasters are sixth with eight points in seven games. If Mumbai City go on to win this match, they go to the top spot in points table passing past the league leaders Atletico de Kolkata by a point, whereas three points will see the home side break into the top four for the first time.
A Nicolas Anelka free kick was the only difference when Mumbai City FC hosted Kerala Blasters nine days ago. Kerala will be out for revenge on their home turf this time.
Sandesh Jhingan and Hengbart will be the key to Kerala’s defence yet again. Iain Hume has been the best player for Kerala in the ISL, Kerala will be hoping that the Canadian striker can add to his goal tally in this match. Kerala Blasters will continue to miss the services of striker Michael Chopra, Mehtab Hossain and Spaniard Victor Forcada.
Mumbai has a few injury problems for the match and are weakened by the probable absence of top scorer Andre Moritz who pulled a hamstring against Goa on Sunday. Also on the injury list is the captain Syed Rahim Nabi and marquee player Fredrik Ljungberg who was injured and has missed a major part of the tournament. Nicolas Anelka will be the key to Mumbai’s fortunes yet again. Only Nicolas Anelka has scored for Mumbai in its last three games and will once again depend heavily on Anelka to produce the goals. Goalkeeper Subrata Paul has kept three consecutive clean sheets with his side winning two and drawing one of those games.
Kerala Blasters manager David James says his side is doing well in the tournament.
“The nature of the side will change depending upon the players we use. Whether there are changes tomorrow you will have to wait and see. But we will stick to the values and strengths of the players that we have rather than sticking to a system because the system may not suit the players that we have got.”
“I believe that the previous game was two points lost more than one point gained. We created some chances and there were opportunities for them and that was a game which we wanted to win”
“The team is playing well and we are creating chances. We have changed things up in training and this should encourage some of the lads to score so we hope that this does not remain a problem. All we have to do is our homework, preparation and make sure that we don’t switch off at the wrong time.”
Mumbai City manager Peter Reid feels that the game is going to be difficult.
“I know David James, Trevor Morgan and some of the players of Kerala really well and I know that they are strong and well organized and I think that tomorrow’s game is going to be difficult”
“If you’re at the bottom of the league and you have two wins all of a sudden you’re in the top half of the table and that just tells you how difficult it is going to be for us tomorrow evening. I was impressed with Kerala in Mumbai so I know that it is going to be hard,”
“It concerns me because we are creating chances but we are not putting them away. With the games coming up think and fast we are working on that aspect this evening in training and we will continue to work on it. What disappointed me was when André Moritz went off in the previous game because I felt that when games get stretched he has the quality to exploit that.”
Recent Form (Most Recent First):
Kerala Blasters : DWLWD
Mumbai City : DWWLL
Possible starting lineups:
Kerala Blasters : David James , Sandesh Jhingan , Nirmal Chettri , Cedric Hengbart , Saumik Dey , Stephen Pearson , Avinabo Bag , Ishfaq Ahmed , Penn Orji , Iain Hume , Andrew Barisic
Mumbai City : Subrata Paul , Deepak Mondal , Syed Nabi , Pavel Cmovs , Manuel Friedrich , Lalrindike Ralte , Subhash Singh , Jan Stohanzl , Johan Letzelter , Andre Moritz , Nicolas Anelka
Kerala Blasters 1 – 1 Mumbai City
Picture Courtesy: Indian Super League