ISL 2018: Blasters challenge awaits in-form Mumbai City

Mumbai City, unbeaten in its last seven matches, aims to end the year with another win against a deflated Kerala Blasters.

Kerala Blasters is eight on the ISL points table and is winless in its last 10 matches.   -  ISL/ SPORTZPICS

High-flying Mumbai City FC would look to go into the Indian Super League break with a win when it takes on Kerala Blasters here on Sunday.

After its 0-5 thrashing by FC Goa in an away game, Mumbai City, which is yet to win the coveted ISL title, has made a fabulous turn-around by remaining unbeaten in the next seven games.

READ | David James: Blasters on the 'wrong side of the coin'

The host is currently in the second spot in the standings with 21 points, having won six of its 11 games, drawing three and losing just two.

Going into the game, it would derive confidence after it held formidable Bengaluru FC to a 1-1 draw.

Moreover, the week-long break would have rejuvenated the players.

Force to reckon with

Mumbai City, this season, has been a force to reckon with.

Senegal’s Modou Sougou has been the star performer for the side having pumped in five goals.

Mumbai also possess fine strikers like Brazilian Rafael Bastos and an array of mid-fielders including Sougou, Raynier Fernandes, Portugal’s Paulo Machado and Matias Mirabaje.

If all of them play to potential then it can pose a challenge to any defence and Kerala’s would be no exception.

Head coach Jorge Costa would also be hoping that Amrinder Singh, the experienced custodian, would be able to maintain a clean sheet.

With experienced Arnold Issoko (Congo), Romanian Lucian Goain, Davinder Singh, Subhasish Bose, Mumbai also has a strong defence.

Moudu Sougou is Mumbai City's top-scorer with five goals. PHOTO: ISL/SPORTZPICS

 

Mumbai, which suffered a defeat against Jamshedpur FC in its opening home game, hasn’t suffered any loss at the Mumbai Football Arena afterwads.

'Difficult affair'

According to Costa, tomorrow’s game would be a difficult affair.

“In my opinion, it will be the most difficult game until now. We are the last team to play and are doing so against a team that are comfortable and have nothing to lose. It is a difficult moment. Difficult because it is the last game of the year. After this the players will have a small break and they will go home. We must be focused on this game tomorrow”, said Costa.

On the other hand, Blasters has had a difficult season and is languishing in the eighth spot with a sole win and four losses.

Blasters, too, has quality players like C K Vineeth, Sandesh Jhinghan, Anas Edathodika and Halicharan Nazary, among others, and on their day they can be ruthless and lethal.

Blasters coach David James admitted that the side cannot go for a draw anymore.

“I suppose we are still mathematically in the run for a top-four finish and we believe that. I just hope we qualify.

There is that added pressure of winning every game. We cannot go out and draw anymore”, said James.

The spectators can expect a hard-fought contest between the two sides.

After Sunday’s game the league takes a break in view of the AFC Asian Cup to be held in United Arab Emirates where India will be playing.