ISL: Mumbai City hosts a resurgent Kerala

Mumbai City FC will host an in-form Kerala Blasters, in what promises to be an entertaining encounter between the second and third placed teams in the league.

C.K. Vineeth has been on a goal-scoring spree for the Blasters.   -  H. Vibhu

Mumbai City FC’s home record and lack of goals will be a big concern as it hosts Kerala Blasters in a crucial match of Hero ISL at the Mumbai Football Arena. The home team has scored only two goals at home (lowest by a home team in season three).

Coach Alexandre Guimaraes, however, isn't concerned. “We have top quality players in all departments. Up front, we have all very good high quality players. It’s a matter of patience. The main thing for these players is that they have chances. I know sooner than later they will convert more than what they have been doing,” said the Costa Rican.

On the other hand, Kerala Blasters has been boosted by back-to-back wins at home against FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC. The visitor has moved into the third place (15 points from 10 matches). The man who sparked the turnaround is striker C. K. Vineeth, who has scored in both the games since joining the club from Bengaluru FC.

KBFC coach Steve Coppell said: “Vineeth's impact has been substantial.” The striker has played just 112 minutes so far and scored the winner against FC Goa after coming off the bench and earlier a brace against Chennaiyin FC during his first start.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, Coppell said: “Every game for every team is crucial now. Every team is still capable of being in the play-off. We are playing against a very good team. They have invested a lot and have some super players. Three points are vital in every game.” Mumbai City is placed second with 16 points from 11 games.

He elaborated: “The premium now at the end of the league is on winning games. I think teams will adjust their styles. In the first two-thirds, the emphasis was on not getting beaten, now the emphasis for every team has to be a win. Maybe the remaining games will be a little bit more open.”

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