Ivan Vukomanovic’s side won the reverse fixture by a 3-0 margin.
Kerala Blasters FC and Mumbai City FC will face off in a virtual shootout for a place in the semifinals, in a rescheduled Indian Super League fixture at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Wednesday.
Kerala are placed fifth in the points table with 30 points from 18 matches, one point less than Mumbai who are fourth having 31 points from 18 games.
With league leaders Hyderabad FC already through to the semis and Jamshedpur FC and ATK Mohun Bagan needing just one point to confirm their place as well, it is Kerala and Mumbai who are likely to fight it out for the last spot.
“Tomorrow’s game is everything you wish for as a football player. It is nice to play against a top team and we have our preparations in place and it doesn’t change a lot compared to other games. We will be ready to show our strength on the pitch,” Kerala head coach Ivan Vukomanović said.
“In tomorrow’s game, we will see all elements of football. Both teams will fight for points and will fight till the last moment,” he added.
For Kerala, Adrian Luna has been in superb form throughout the season and the Uruguayan playmaker now sits top of the assists list along with h Ahmed Jahouh and Greg Stewart. Despite it being his first year in the ISL, Luna has already started breaking assist records at Kerala. With 6 assists, he sits at the joint top for most assists in Kerala Blasters history along with Jessel Carneiro and Josu Prieto.
Mumbai City FC
Mumbai’s lean patch started with their defeat against Kerala in their first encounter of the season. “We are good to go. Jahouh trained with the squad yesterday. We will give him the best chance to play tomorrow. We will assess that on the gameday. Everyone else is good to go,” said Mumbai head coach Des Buckingham.
On Kerala, he added: “We just keep concentrating on ourselves. I am not interested in other teams’ run of form or results. We should look at our own form and we started this season extremely well and come into this game with four wins out of the last five. We have started to show some good signs on how we want to play so the focus will be on us.”
Mumbai have conceded 20 goals this season, crossing their tally of 18 goals conceded in the league stage of ISL 20-21 in just 11 matches, and Buckingham would hope his team can produce a solid defensive display on Wednesday.
Ahmed Jahouh has returned to training and is likely to feature in the next game. Whether he starts will depend on the final training session, said Buckingham. The Englishman will, however, have a fully fit squad available at his disposal as will Kerala Blasters coach Ivan Vukomannovic for this crucial fixture.
Kerala Blasters and Mumbai City have faced each other 15 times in the ISL and the latter lead the H2H records with six wins. The Blatsers have won half of those games, while six more games have ended in draws. Kerala Blasters have won only two of their last 10 matches, but they did thrash the Islanders 3-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
Kerala Blasters: Prabhsukhan Gill (GK); Harmanjot Khabra, Marko Leskovic, Hormipam Ruivah, Sanjeev Stalin; Jeakson Singh, Lalthathanga Khawlhring; Vincy Barretto, Adrian Luna; Alvaro Vazquez, Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
Mumbai City FC: Mohammed Nawaz (GK); Rahul Bheke, Mourtada Fall, Mehtab Singh, Vignesh; Lalengmawia, Vinit Rai; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Cassinho, Bipin Singh; Igor Angulo.
Did You Know?
- Mumbai City FC’s top scorer Igor Angulo has scored more goals than all but one team’s top scorers. Hyderabad FC’s Bartholomew Ogbeche has scored more.
- Mumbai City FC players have the highest assists in the league (23).
- Mumbai City and Kerala Blasters have the joint second highest red cards received this season (2).
Kerala Blasters face defending champions Mumbai City FC in a virtual quarter-final clash. The match will be played at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco and it is scheduled for a 07:30 pm kick-off. Fans can watch the live telecast of the game on Star Sports Network, while Disney+Hotstar and JIO TV will be live streaming the game.