The last time Mumbai City took on Kerala Blasters, one team was on a four-game winning streak, the other had almost forgotten how to win. A lot has changed in a month.
Mumbai is no longer the unbeatable defending champion. It hasn’t won even once in its last five games and has slid to fourth place in the ISL table, from the pole position, where it was when it played Blasters last month.
The men from Kochi had won that match 3-0. They haven’t looked back since. They are leading the table now, and are unbeaten for 10 games.
The question is if they could make it 11 on Sunday, when it takes on Mumbai at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco. They must be confident they could: such has been the quality of their football from that match against Mumbai onwards.
READ: ISL 2021-22: BFC skipper Chhetri urges players to support each other in difficult times
For Mumbai, the return leg is an opportunity to avenge that defeat and to get its act together. But it will need to up its game against a side that has looked the most complete side in the competition.
Mumbai’s coach Des Buckingham said he enjoyed watching Blasters play. “They are coached well by Ivan (Vukomanovic),” he said. “Adrian Luna always impresses me.”
Luna, of course, is the fulcrum of Blasters. The Uruguayan midfielder is a constant threat to any defence, with his passes and kicks from set-pieces.
The Blasters coach said his team would have to remain focussed. “The moment you think you are the best and start being arrogant, you are finished, you’re history,” Vukomanovic said.
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