The final matchday of 2023 is upon us. To wrap up what has been a year of redefining success and scaling new heights, Mumbai City will step out onto the Mumbai Football Arena when they take on Chennaiyin FC on Thursday, December 28 with action kicking off in Andheri at 8:00 PM.
The Islanders, who have enjoyed a strong start to the 2023-24 ISL season, saw their unbeaten run come to an end after 9 games. With Mumbai City playing a game every four days in December, the Islanders played game six out of seven of a fatiguing schedule away from home against the Kerala Blasters. First half goals from Diamantakos and Peprah saw the hosts secure their first win against Mumbai City since the 2021-22 season. With the final game of a busy December against Chennaiyin on the horizon, the Islanders will be looking forward to end 2023 on a high.
The visitors Chennaiyin FC welcomed former manager and club icon Owen Coyle back to Chennai as the club enjoyed a busy summer. However, with three consecutive losses, Chennaiyin did not get off to the start they hoped for. Two consecutive wins against Hyderabad and Punjab followed for Coyle’s men, sparking a revival but the Marina Machans have not been able to maintain their form – Chennaiyin come into tonight’s fixture with a win, a loss and three draws in their last five games.
The Islanders’ head coach Petr Kratky reflected on his side’s first loss of the league season and asserted that there was a lot to learn and a lot to be proud of from the way Mumbai City endured last weekend’s tough Kochi outing. Kratky said, “There is no such thing as defeat if you don't learn. We reflect, we review. There were a lot of positive things, but also things that we need to improve.” The 42-year old added, “The attitude, hard work, and the never-give-up attitude displayed by the team - this is the behavior and standards that are expected from us regardless of who we play against. The circumstances were not ideal for the team like the early injury or the goal, but the boys did well on that part of the behavior. Tactically, there were also some very good things. We just need to keep doing what we already do but just a little bit better.”
Gearing up to take on his former side in the final outing of 2023, Lallianzuala Chhangte is wary of the threats Chennaiyin will pose but is keen on giving the Islanders’ fans something to cheer for as the new year approaches. “I think Chennaiyin are a much better team than the last few years. They've got a great bunch of Indian players with a mixture of foreign players as well and on top of that they've got a good coach as well. Initially, they were struggling but now they are in the right direction having picked good momentum,” said Chhangte. “As the coach said, it’s about focusing on ourselves and the good thing is that we are playing in our stadium which will give us an advantage. We will do everything possible to win the game,” added the Mizo attacker.
Rahul Bheke and Vikram Partap Singh will be available for selection after the duo served their one-match suspensions.
Where To Watch
The game will kick off at 8:00 PM IST on Tuesday, 24th of December 2023 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.