The crucial final matchday for the Islanders in the Kalinga Super Cup group stage C is soon approacing. Mumbai City FC will aim to secure a win or a draw to qualify for the semifinals of this prestigious tournament. The clash with the Marina Machans is set to unfold on Sunday, 21st January at 7.30 PM on the main pitch of the Kalinga Stadium.
Mumbai City FC initiated their Kalinga Super Cup journey with a remarkable comeback against Gokulam Kerala. After falling behind in the first half, a determined Mumbai City leveled the score with a precise finish from substitute Ayush Chhikara. A penalty, converted by El Khayati after a foul on Alberto Noguera, secured the comeback win with the scoreline being 2-1 during the final whistle. In their second group stage match, the Islanders faced Punjab FC. Ayush Chhikara showcased nerves of steel with a brace, guiding his side to a 2-1 lead, but Luka Majcen equalized for Punjab FC in the 88th minute. In injury time, Seilenthang Lotjem controlled the ball well and scored the winning goal, securing a nail-biting 3-2 victory for Mumbai City FC.
Chennaiyin FC commenced their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Punjab FC. Wilmar Jordán Gil provided an early lead for Punjab FC. Both the sides dealt with a blow as they were 1 man down each. Chennaiyin kept pushing for a goal and in the dying minutes of the game, talisman Jordan Murray grabbed an equalizer. Owen Coyle's side rebounded with a convincing 2-0 victory over Gokulam Kerala in their 2nd match of the group stage, featuring a brilliant goal from Connor Shields and later youngster Irfan Yadwad sealing the win.
Mumbai City FC Head Coach Petr Kratky was pleased with the performances of the youngsters and their ability to step up for the team. Kratky said, “It was a good win against Punjab FC. The boys did well, especially the young ones. When they're provided with opportunities, they're taking it. When the boys come back from national team duty, it will give me some headaches regarding the team selection. This way, we will have competition within the squad which is healthy for the team and the club. So, I am happy about it.”
Chennaiyin FC will also look to pounce on the opportunity to qualify for semi-finals, but Petr Kratky isn’t keen on changing a lot of things and is focused on the process. “Our preparation doesn't change much. Regardless of who we play against, we keep going through our processes, and we make sure the boys have clarity on how we want to play and analyze Chennaiyin FC,” Kratky said.
To secure a semifinal berth, the Islanders must either win or draw against Chennaiyin. Seilenthang Lotjem, the hero against Punjab FC, aims to use this momentum for a positive result. Lotjem expressed his gratitude, stating, “I feel good for scoring such a crucial goal. I want to thank the coaches, staff, and my teammates for giving me the opportunity.”
“Our preparation is going well, and we are confident going into the Chennai game. Kalinga Super Cup is one of the major tournaments in India, and our aim is to win this tournament,” Lotjem added.
Where To Watch
The game will kick off at 7:30 PM IST on Sunday, 21st of January 2024 and will be broadcasted on Jio Cinema. For our global fans, you can follow all the action LIVE on our official Twitter account - @MumbaiCityFC.