Mumbai City FC and Jamshedpur FC will square off in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 at the Mumbai Football Arena (MFA) on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. (IST). This game will mark the return of Khalid Jamil with his first game for JFC in Mumbai, the place that propelled him to coaching success back when he coached Mumbai FC in the I-League.

Jamil has had a terrific impact on the Red Miners since he replaced Scott Cooper at the helm. He spearheaded them to the semi-final of the Kalinga Super Cup, which is a remarkable feat given that they have won only twice and lost seven times in their 13 league encounters so far.

They sealed a 1-1 draw against NorthEast United FC on Wednesday but will want to go one step ahead and inflict a loss upon the Islanders in their own backyard. Mumbai City FC have endured an exciting campaign in their bid to defend their League Winners Shield title. They lost all their games in the AFC Champions League, suffered a series of unconvincing results given the quality of their squad, and saw the departure of their head coach Des Buckingham to Oxford United FC.

They went into the break with a terrific victory against Chennaiyin FC at home, and will wish to pick up from there against Jamshedpur FC, whose fortunes have been on the rise in the last month or so.

However, the Islanders have been dealt with major blows in the winter transfer window, with key players like Greg Stewart, Abdenasser El Khayati, and Rostyn Griffiths leaving the club. Head coach Petr Kratky has been served a challenge straightaway upon his arrival, and how he works his way around them will go a long way in deciding his credentials at the City Football Group (CFG) owned outfit.

What’s at stake?

Mumbai City FC

Regardless of the numerous key departures this season, the Islanders have to fight till the end to not slip away from their pursuit of challenging for the top honours on the domestic front.

At this stage, it appears that the trio of Kerala Blasters FC, Odisha FC, and FC Goa have somehow beaten the Islanders in terms of points as well as performances. However, Mumbai City FC are defending the shield for a reason and they are well aware of the measures that they must take to overtake the aforementioned set of teams to attain their objectives.

They are often a difficult team to beat at home and are arguably better placed in terms of the quality present in their ranks vis-à-vis Jamshedpur FC. Interestingly, they have never won consecutive matches against the Red Miners in the ISL. However, they have not been defeated at the MFA even once in this ISL campaign, and Kratky will be hoping to extend that record when his men take the field on Sunday evening.

Jamshedpur FC

Jamshedpur FC has been a recharged unit since Jamil’s appointment, with the tactician arguably setting them up in a way that optimises their strength. Whilst Cooper’s philosophy was broadly focused on playing a possession-based brand of football, Jamil stresses on a strengthened backline supported by industrious midfielders and quick wingers. He has a striker in Daniel Chima Chukwu, who can be a threat in the air and equally skilful with his feet inside the box.

Moreover, Jamil is perhaps better placed to optimise the qualities of his domestic contingent, which is reflected in the growing confidence of Imran Khan with which he found the back of the net against the Highlanders. Overall, he has given the impression that he understands what this squad can offer him and is working towards ensuring that they get the expected results regardless of the opposition they are facing.

Key Players

Yoell van Nieff (Mumbai City FC)

The Dutch defensive midfielder will have added responsibility to shoulder the responsibilities of the defensive unit in the absence of Griffiths. Van Nieff has made eight appearances in ISL 2023-24, recording an 82% passing accuracy, making seven interceptions, and earning 14 fouls. He has created a goal-scoring opportunity in every game, which suggests that he is constantly looking for avenues to breach the opposition’s defensive line.

It is possible that he could be pegged in a deeper role to make up for Griffiths, and whether that negatively impacts his forays moving forward remains to be seen. However, with the going away of multiple star international players, the significance of van Nieff increases massively in the Mumbai City FC unit. A terrific second half of ISL 2023-24 will help him individually and result in overall better performances from the team’s end as well.

Imran Khan (Jamshedpur FC)

The Jamshedpur FC midfielder has averaged 76.6 minutes per field across his 10 appearances in the ISL this season. He has created 14 goal-scoring chances, netted and assisted once each, and been quick on his feet whilst winning 13 fouls in total. Imran has made eight interceptions, made an average of 27 passes per game, and been a lively presence whether through the centre or even via the flanks.

He has been booked only once so far, and his strike against the Highlanders means that he will be beaming with confidence coming into this fixture. Jamil has never lost a game against Mumbai City FC in the ISL, and the contributions of Imran will be essential in keeping that record intact come Sunday. Interestingly, he has been very neat in his passing, completing 80% of them in this campaign and by the looks of it; his role and responsibilities are only going to get bigger and better in Jamil’s watch.

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Played – 12

Mumbai City FC – 4

Jamshedpur FC – 5

Draws – 3

Trivia: Jamshedpur FC have won only once in their seven away fixtures in the ISL 2023-24.

Team Talk

Petr Kratky, Mumbai City FC

“There was a lot of opportunities to give to these young boys and I’m very happy and I’m looking forward to work with them more. We missed players due to national team duties, and they need to just keep working hard,” Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky said in the pre-match press conference.

Khalid Jamil, Jamshedpur FC

“In the second half, everybody tried, but they came hard at us for the equaliser and they got it. But we tried and that’s a good point, but I wanted to get three points, which would’ve been better for us,” Jamshedpur FC head coach Khalid Jamil reflected on their draw against NorthEast United FC in the last game.

ISL Fantasy

Rahul Bheke (4.1cr)

Proactive approach in moving the ball higher up the field

Lalengmawia Ralte (4.9cr)

Guaranteed contributions on both attacking and defensive fronts from the middle

Daniel Chima Chukwu (5.5cr)

Constant goal-scoring threat from the JFC ranks

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Where to Watch

Fans across the country can catch the action in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam. Fans can watch the action on linear channels like Sports18 Khel (Hindi), Sports18 1 HD (English), Sports18 3 SD (English, Hindi, Malayalam and Bengali), VH1 SD & HD (English), Surya Movies (Malayalam), News 18 Kerala (Malayalam – select matches) & DD Bangla (Bengali). Fans can also catch the action streaming Live for free on JioCinema, the home of Indian football. In addition to this, as part of FSDL’s partnership with OneFootball, ISL live streams and highlights of all matches of the upcoming 2023-24 season will be delivered across more than 190 countries.