Match 81 Preview: Kerala face Mumbai City with both teams looking to bounce back
After losses in their last outing, both Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters FC will want to bounce back in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they square off at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Wednesday. The Blasters head into the contest on the back of a 3-2 loss at the hands of ATK Mohun Bagan, while Mumbai City fell short against NorthEast United FC in their last match.
However, the Islanders will back themselves to get the better of the Blasters and history is on the side of Sergio Lobera’s men. Mumbai City have won five, lost two and drawn six of their past encounters with Kerala and will be aiming to do the double over the southerners having beaten them 2-0 earlier in the campaign.
A well-balanced outfit, Mumbai City have registered the joint-most clean sheets (8), netted the joint-most goals (20) and conceded the least (7) this season. However, they have struggled to produce their best of late having secured just one win in their last four matches.
Even though they are on top of the goal-scoring charts, finding the back of the net hasn’t been easy for Mumbai City recently and you can rest assured that Lobera will be urging his players to return to their best in front of goal. Dominant in set-pieces, the Islanders will be hoping to make the most of such situations against a fragile Kerala defence.
"Kerala Blasters have improved a lot. Now, they are competing very well and playing very well. The first half in their last game is a very good example. It was always going to be a very difficult game. They are a very good team and try to play very good football. The most important thing is to put our focus on ourselves against a very good team like Kerala,” Lobera said ahead of the game.
The Blasters, meanwhile, will be raring to return to the pitch after the Mariners condemned them to a defeat last time around. Kerala were on a five-match unbeaten run prior to the defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan and will be keen on regaining some momentum with a positive result from their clash against Mumbai City.
Goals-scoring isn’t really a concern for them having found the back of the net 19 times so far courtesy of their nine different goal-scorers, which is the most in a team this season. Their in-form strike duo of Jordan Murray and Gary Hooper will pose threats to Mumbai City’s defence and will have to be marked tightly.
Defensively, Kerala must do better though having conceded the most penalties (6) and more goals (25) than any other team this season. They must particularly be switched on in the second half and look to keep things tight having conceded 15 of their 25 goals after the restart. Should they go ahead in the contest, the Blasters must also look to avoid throwing away their lead having lost 13 points after scoring the first goal.
"They are the current league leaders. We know that they are a very good team with a very good head coach. It was always a big challenge for us, especially after our last game against ATK Mohun Bagan. We have to come back and get the points," Kerala Blasters head coach Kibu Vicuna said ahead of the game.
Kerala Blasters FC
Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Bilal Husain Khan, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Muheet Khan
Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu, Nishu Kumar, Bakary Kone, Jessel Carneiro, Sandeep Singh, Abdul Hakku, Lalruatthara
Midfielders: Sahal Abdul Samad, Vicente Gomez, Seityasen Singh, Rahul KP, Givson Singh, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Yondrembem Denechandra, Arjun Jayaraj, Ayush Adhikari, Jeakson Singh, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Ritwik Das, Rohit Kumar, Juande, Muktasana Sharma
Forwards: Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Shaiborlang Kharpan
Mumbai City FC
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Nishit Shetty, Vikram Singh, Phurba Lachenpa
Defenders: Amey Ranawade, Valpuia, Mourtada Fall, Mehtab Singh, Mandar Rao Dessai, Tondonba Singh, Mohamad Rakip
Midfielders: Ahmed Jahouh, Bidyananda Singh, Bipin Singh, Hernan Santana, Raynier Fernandes, Rowllin Borges, Hugo Boumous, Cy Goddard, Asif Khan, Jackichand Singh, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Vikram Partap Singh, Pranjal Bhumij
Forwards: Adam Le Fondre, Bartholomew Ogbeche
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 81: Kerala Blasters FC vs Mumbai City FC
Date: February 3 (Wednesday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV