Mumbai City FC and Jamshedpur FC lock horns for a place in the AFC Champions League 2023-24 group stage in the Hero Club Playoffs at the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri, Kerala on Tuesday.

The high-stakes fixture brings the last two League Shield Winners in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) against each other with the Islanders winning the trophy after a brilliant record-breaking season and Jamshedpur FC winning the trophy in Hero ISL 2021-22 campaign in impressive fashion. The single-leg playoff provides the chance to both teams to secure their place in Asia's premier football competition's group stages. 

The fixture is expected to turn up the heat with the stakes being high and after both teams played out closely-fought matches in the Hero ISL league campaign with Des Buckingham's men edging out the Men of Steel in the reverse fixture after the first meeting saw both teams sharing the points. 

So, the mini battles on the pitch will be the key for either of the team if they are to win the crunch fixture. Here's a look at where the place in the Hero Club Playoffs match between Mumbai City FC and Jamshedpur FC can be won or lost: 

Lallianzuala Chhangte vs Ritwik Das

Two most exciting wingers in the Hero ISL 2022-23 campaign with both players stepping up when it mattered for their respective teams. Chhangte had the season of his life after making 16 goal contributions and was adjudged to be the Hero of the League. Meanwhile, Das had a comparatively slow start to the season with no goals in first 12 games but the 26-year-old fired up six goals in the next eight appreances to finish the league on a strong note.

In the clash of two attackers at the top of their powers and playing at such an important fixture, it'd be crucial to see who turns out to be the decisive factor for their respective teams. Chhangte would be hoping to repeat his heroics of the last meeting with Aidy Boothroyd's men where the winger scored the equaliser after falling behind and set up the winning goal in last moments of the match. Das, known for his decision making and lethal finishing in front of the goal would be hoping to break down the Islanders' backline and provide the teeth need to get his club over the line.

Greg Stewart vs Pronay Halder

A battle in midfield with a technical master on one side and a robust midfield general on the other. When Mumbai City FC and Jamshedpur FC will take on the pitch, the match would depend heavily on how both teams fare in midfield with Greg Stewart and Pronay Halder leading their respective teams to dominate the proceedings. Although Halder has been playing in central defence more often, he would be tasked with keeping an eye on Stewart who likes to float in between the midfield and forward areas.

Stewart has been the difference-maker for the Islanders, the Scottish midfielder bagged eight goals and provided seven assists proving why he's one of the most influential players in the league. On the other hand, Halder being more of a defensive midfielder, would be looking to put a stop on Stewart's trickery and impose his dominance.

Halder is one of the most experienced players of the country with more than 80 Hero ISL appreances under his belt and Boothroyd would be trusting his veteran midfielder to thwart the Mumbai City FC attack and upset their rhythm.

Jorge Diaz vs Eli Sabia

In Mumbai City FC and Jamshedpur FC, we have two teams who stood on the opposite ends of the league table in the recently concluded Hero ISL, two teams with contrasting difference between the number of goals scored with the Islanders scoring 54 goals in the league campaign while Jamshedpur FC managing 21 goals. 

Jorge Diaz led the line for the Islanders and bagged 11 goals to finish just one short of eventual golden boot winner Diego Mauricio

The Argentine forward scored five times in the last nine league matches to wrap his campaign in style and  would be looking to find the back of the net in an all-important fixture.

For the Men of Steel to keep the ultra-attacking Mumbai City FC at bay, the whole team needs to produce a brilliant defensive effort and the responsibility to lead the defence would fall on experienced shoulders of Eli Sabia. The Brazilian defender was named the captain after Peter Hartley's departure and guided the Men of Steel to an astute second half of the season with three clean sheets as compared to the single one in the first round of fixtures.

The finishing, positioning and killer instinct of Diaz would clash with the grit, character and perseverance of Sabia and in order to guide their respective teams to the ultimate prize, both players would not only need to be on the top of their game but they'll be needed to put out examplary performances for their teammates to follow.