The Islanders are unbeaten in their previous three fixtures, having picked up seven points in the process while scoring an impressive eight goals.
Mumbai City FC host Kerala Blasters FC in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday. Mumbai were also the first team to score two past the Jamshedpur defence in a single match this season, when they drew 2 – 2 with the league debutants in their previous fixture. Playing at home, they will be looking for nothing less than maximum points against visiting Kerala. The two-time finalists, on the other hand, seem a rejuvenated lot under the tutelage of their former player David James. They showed much attacking flair that was amiss this season in their 3 – 1 win over Delhi Dynamos last time out with their talisman Iain Hume, hitting form and bagging a hat-trick. Up against Mumbai in another away fixture, they will be looking to carry their momentum forward from their last match.
HEAD TO HEAD
Mumbai City FC 2 – 1 Kerala Blasters FC (4 draws)
Thiago Santos (Mumbai City FC)
The Brazilian has been a lethal attacking weapon for the Islanders this season. Swift on his feet and a good dribbler, Thiago has led the charge for his team with gusto. He has bagged four goals already and loves going forward and taking on shots in abundance. A handful for any defence in the league, the 22-year-old will hope to continue with his good form when Kerala come calling.
Iain Hume (Kerala Blasters)
Hero ISL’s all-time leading goal-scorer finally regained his scoring touch when he netted a hat-trick against Delhi in Kerala’s last match. The Canadian striker showed much of the class that had deserted him in recent times, as he made quick runs and demonstrated his deft touch which he’s renowned for. Hume will look to be amongst the goals once more when his team visits Mumbai and will be confident of getting on the scoresheet again, having netted six times against the Islanders in six games.
POTENTIAL STARTING LINEUPS
Mumbai City FC
Alexandre Guimaraes may opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation that would add versatility both in attack and defence.
Goalkeeper: Arindam Bhattacharja
Defenders: Raju Gaikwad, Lucian Goian, Gerson Vieira, Sanju Pradhan
Midfielders: Everton Santos, Achille Emana, Sahil Tavora, Abinash Ruidas, Thiago Santos
Forward: Balwant Singh
The host’s head coach on his team’s agendas for the season: “Our first goal is accomplished in terms of finishing the first half of the tournament very close to the top. That has put us in a good situation to continue to compete in the way we’re competing in this tournament. In the second half, game after game we want to get closer to the top four, which is our final objective.”
Kerala Blasters FC
David James will probably use a 4-1-4-1 formation which gives him options in the middle of the park.
Goalkeeper: Paul Rachubka
Defenders: Lalruatthara, Wes Brown, Sandesh Jhingan, Rino Anto
Midfielders: Courage Pekuson, Siam Hanghal, Milan Singh, Iain Hume, Jackichand Singh
Forward: Mark Sifneos
The visitor’s head coach on his team’s mentality before the game: “I said before the game and even after the game that we are a very talented side. Don’t necessarily deserve to be where we are because we have good quality. We were very disciplined and showed no fear. After the draw (1 – 1 against FC Pune City), this (3 – 1 victory over Delhi) was a good win. It’s the same again for tomorrow really.”
- The last time these two teams met in Mumbai, the Islanders dished out a 5-0 hammering to the Blasters
- Kerala have the maximum number of draws this season (5)