Mumbai City FC will aim to begin their campaign on a positive note as they take on Gokulam Kerala FC in their opening match of the Kalinga Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

This will be the opening game of Group C, with Chennaiyin FC's clash against Punjab FC to follow later in the day. With the topper from each group advancing to the semi-finals, Mumbai City FC will be eyeing nothing less than three points.

The Islanders will test their squad depth in the absence of several key Indian players who are away with the national team for the AFC Asian Cup. Those names include Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rahul Bheke, Lalengmawia Ralte, Mehtab Singh, Akash Mishra, and Vikram Partap Singh. However, Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kraty will be hoping that the experienced foreign players and Indian talents such as Vinit Rai, Jayesh Rane, Gurkirat Singh, and Valpuia can step up in their absence.

The Islanders have been in good form since the beginning of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season. They have lost just one league game so far and sit fourth in the standings. They will face a Gokulam Kerala FC side that has experienced a mixed bag of results in the ongoing I-League season. The Kozhikode-based club, who won back-to-back league titles from 2020-22, are placed sixth in the I-League standings. They will be hoping to cause an upset and replicate their performance in the Durand Cup 2023, where they finished top of their group alongside Kerala Blasters FC, Bengaluru FC, and the Indian Air Force, reaching the knockout stages.

Mumbai City FC and Gokulam Kerala FC faced each other in 2018 during a friendly match, with both sides sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

Chennaiyin FC and Punjab FC lock horns in an enticing clash

ISL sides Chennaiyin FC and Punjab FC will be in action in the second game of the day as they look to put their best foot forward in the second game of Group C, which will take place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

Chennaiyin FC will be aiming for a better show under Owen Coyle, having struggled to qualify for the knockout stages of the previous edition of the Super Cup. They have endured a tough ISL season so far, currently placed seventh in the standings.

They also have a score to settle with Punjab FC. Coyle’s side recorded a thumping win against Punjab FC in the ongoing ISL season but lost to the Shers in the reverse fixture. That result also proved to be the first win in the ISL for Punjab FC, who were promoted after being crowned I-League winners for the 2022-23 season.

Having faced each other twice this season, both sides are well aware of each other's strengths and will look to outwit and outplay each other once again, making it an interesting battle.