After a resilient comeback win against Gokulam Kerala, Mumbai City have set their sights on the second Kalinga Super Cup game in Group C against Punjab FC. The Islanders will be in action on the main pitch of the Kalinga Stadium against the Shers on Tuesday, January 16 at 7:30 PM IST.
Mumbai City began their 2024 Kalinga Super Cup journey with a performance to remember, coming from behind to win 2-1 against a formidable Gokulam Kerala side. A momentary lapse in defence meant Alex Sanchez could head the ball in to give Gokulam the lead. However, a spirited fightback from a young Mumbai City side saw the scoreline turned around. Ayush Chhikara came off the bench in the second half and tucked home neat finish to restore parity. Alberto Noguera, who made his return after a lengthy layoff, did well to foray into the box in stoppage time and was brought down for a penalty. Nasser El Khayati did well to send the goalkeeper the wrong way in the 97th minute to seal a 2-1 win.
Punjab FC started off their Super Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw against Chennaiyin FC. Talismanic striker Jordan Wilmar Gil gave the Shers an early lead inside just four minutes. The tide turned for Punjab when midfielder Amarjit Kiyam was shown two yellow cards in the space of a few minutes right before halftime, earning him an early shower. Chennaiyin pushed for the equaliser with their man advantage but midway through the second half, Rafael Crivellaro saw a second yellow bringing both teams down to 10 men. There was respite for Chennaiyin after Jordan Murray grabbed the equaliser in the dying minutes, as the game ended 1-1.
The Islanders’ head coach Petr Kratky was pleased with the character shown by his side and particularly, by the young players in their Super Cup opener. Kratky said, “I was very pleased with what I saw specially with Franklin (Nazareth), Nathan (Rodrigues), and Sanjeev (Stalin) and the others, basically all of the young players who came in, and Ayush (Chhikara) also, who scored a goal. There is a lot of room to improve but we will try to help them and make sure the performances are still going up. But again, I was very pleased with what I saw, and hopefully they keep working hard, and keep asking more questions for the future selections.”
With Punjab FC up next, Kratky is wary of the threat the Shers will pose but is confident that the Islanders are up for the challenge. “Punjab will be a little bit of a different opponent in comparison to Gokulam Kerala. However, we have a squad who can perform against any team. I believe in the players we have. Punjab is a very good team with experienced players on the park, and are well organised. We have to be respectful and ready for their quality, but we must also stick to the way we want to play. I am looking forward to the game, it will be an exciting game. We are not afraid of anyone, and we want to win this game,” Kratky said.
A win for the Islanders will take them one step closer to the semifinal of the 2024 Kalinga Super Cup and defender Nathan Rodrigues, who made his first start for Mumbai City against Gokulam Kerala, is keen to help his side take that huge step forward. Nathan said, “It was a tough game. We were a goal down but we fought to win 2-1. The team worked very hard on the pitch and we deserved to win.”
“It is important for us to get a win on Tuesday against Punjab FC, and we hope we keep our momentum going as well. A win will take us closer to the qualification for the semifinal,” Nathan added.
Where To Watch
The game will kick off at 7:30 PM IST on Tuesday, 16th 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.