After a month-long hiatus, the Islanders are back in Indian Super League action! Mumbai City return to the Mumbai Football Arena after 39 days as Petr Kratky and his side resume their ISL title defence at home to Jamshedpur FC on Sunday, February 4 with action kicking off at 7:30 PM IST.
Mumbai City closed out 2023 on a high with a 3-0 win against Chennaiyin FC at the Mumbai Football Arena and went on to compete with a rather depleted squad at the 2024 Kalinga Super Cup in Bhubaneswar. After a perfect group stage with three wins in three, the Islanders faced an unceremonious exit in the semifinal against hosts Odisha FC, losing out 1-0 to the Kalinga Warriors. Mumbai City currently sit fourth in the points table and are unbeaten at home all season, as the Islanders will look begin the second half of the league stage with a positive result against a revitalized Jamshedpur FC side under head coach Khalid Jamil.
Following the departure of former coach Scott Cooper, experienced Indian coach Khalid Jamil took over the reigns at Jamshedpur FC and the Red Miners’ fortunes have looked to turn under the tutelage of Jamil. Much like the Islanders, Jamshedpur managed three wins out of three in their Kalinga Super Cup group stage but went on to lose to eventual champions East Bengal FC in the semifinal of the cup competition. Jamil’s side also kicked off proceedings as the ISL resumed this past week as Jamshedpur recored a 1-1 draw against NorthEast United and come into tonight’s fixture with 10 points in 13 games and sitting in 11th place.
Petr Kratky, who attended the customary pre-match press conference, was in good spirits ahead of his side’s ISL return and asserted the importance of getting off to a good start in the league’s second stage. Kratky said, “Every game is important for us. We are restarting the competition, so we want to start on a good note. We want to win and get the three points. At the end of the day, we want to work hard. I believe this group has strengths and qualities to win every game. So I believe in them and back them every day.”
When asked about Jamshedpur FC, a side Mumbai City have not faced yet in the 2023-24 season, Kratky was wary of the visitors’ threats but has urged his side to focus on themselves as they return to the Mumbai Football Arena for the first time in 2024. “Jamshedpur is a quality team and we have done our analysis accordingly. Every team has their strengths and their weaknesses, so we are preparing accordingly. We need to approach it like every single game and have to work hard. We look forward to this game and playing at our home ground,” added the 42-year old tactician.
Dutch midfielder Yoëll van Nieff accompanied Kratky on media duties and echoed the Boss’ sentiments ahead of tonight’s ISL outing. “Like how the coach mentioned already, Jamshedpur is a good team. We have had a good week of football before the before the match, so we are well-prepared. It's going to be a really hard game, of course. It's feels good to start the league again and hopefully from here, we can keep our rhythm and win the three points in front of our home crowd,” said van Nieff at the pre-match press conference.
Having bolstered the squad with the signing of Iker Guarrotxena, who joined the squad in the early hours of Saturday and Thaer Krouma, who is expected to arrive into India in the coming days, the Boss was looking forward to welcoming them both into the club and provided an important update on the Spaniard’s availability. “Yes, Iker has arrived (in Mumbai). We are excited to have him available to us. I'm not sure (if he will play). We still need to go through training to see how he can help us in the game, but we are very excited to have him here. He is a very good addition to the team.”
Where To Watch
The game will kick off at 7:30 PM IST on Sunday, 4th of February 2024 and will be broadcasted on Sports 18 and Jio Cinema. For our global fans, you can find your broadcaster at www.indiansuperleague.com/broadcasters or follow all the action LIVE on our official Twitter account - @MumbaiCityFC.