Four wins in four and the Islanders are on the top. With sights firmly set on maintaining status quo, Mumbai City are faced with a mouthwatering clash tomorrow against Kerala Blasters. Des Buckingham’s men will be in action at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday in a 7:30pm kick off.
Des Buckingham highlighted the importance of being able to play against different kinds of styles and teams and the Islanders were faced with arguably their most stern test of the campaign so far against a compact Chennaiyin FC. Having only conceded twice coming into the tie, Bozidar Bandovic’s side gave away very little during the course of the game as the Islanders kept knocking, hitting the post and having a chance cleared off the goalline on either side of the half-time break. Chennaiyin had a couple of chances of their own but their focus largely remained on keeping things tight and tidy at the back. Eventually, the moment arrived for the Islanders and particularly for Rahul Bheke who nodded an Ahmed Jahouh freekick past an onrushing Vishal Kaith to score his first goal for the club in the 86th minute and more importantly, the winner on the night for Mumbai City.
Kerala Blasters, under the tutelage of new head coach Ivan Vukomanovic, have had a rocky start to the season. The Blasters faced an opening day defeat against ATK Mohun Bagan but have since been unbeaten for their last four games with three draws and a win against Odisha FC. With high profile overseas signings in the form of Alvaro Vasquez, Jorge Pereyra Diaz and most notably Adrian Luna, who played under Des Buckingham at Melbourne City, the Blasters are touted as one of the most well-equipped sides in the league along with experienced domestic names like Puitea, Jeakson Singh, Harmanjot Khabra.
Ivan Vukomanovic’s side adopt a style and philosophy similar to that of Des Buckingham’s – to keep the ball and play with the ball. While the Islanders have managed to get one over contrasting styles and teams so far, the battle with the Blasters will present Mumbai City with a refreshing challenge.
Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, who continues to work towards his return from an ankle injury, will miss out on tomorrow’s action.
Enes Sipovic, Albino Gomes and Rahul KP are slated to miss the action against the Islanders while Harmanjot Khabra has returned to training and could be in contention to start for Kerala Blasters.
Who said what:
Des Buckingham: "They are a very good team, they press high. I actually had the pleasure of working with one of their players, Adrian Luna. Adrian has had a fantastic start this season and is very influential in some of their play so I very much look forward to connecting with him and I am hoping that he doesn’t play as well, as he has done the past games."
Vikram Partap Singh: "This type of healthy competition is really necessary because it will help us improve ourselves. Raynier is a senior player and is a really good player. I look up to him, watching him play motivates me, and if he will play well, then I’ll be able to play well. So, I think healthy competition is necessary."
Where to watch it:
The game will kick off at 7.30 pm IST and will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar, and Jio TV for all viewers in India. For our global fans, you can download the OneFootball app, find your broadcaster at indiansuperleague.com/broadcasters or follow all the action LIVE on our official Twitter account - @MumbaiCityFC.
16 Dec: Bengaluru FC 3-3 ATK Mohun Bagan (Cleiton 18’ P, Danish 26’, Ibara 72’; Bose 13’, Boumous 38’, Krishna 58’ P)
17 Dec: NorthEast United 2-0 SC East Bengal (Suhair 60’, Flottmann 68’)
Fixtures coming up:
18 Dec: Chennaiyin FC vs Odisha FC (Tilak Maidan; 7.30pm)
18 Dec: FC Goa vs Hyderabad FC (GMC Bambolim; 9.30pm)
19 Dec: Mumbai City vs Kerala Blasters (Fatorda Stadium; 7.30pm)