After an eight-day break from ISL action, the Islanders are back. Off the back of our second loss of the season, Mumbai City will return to Fatorda, albeit for an away fixture this time, against NorthEast United tomorrow with action kicking off at 7:30 pm.
Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. After four wins in four, Murphy’s law caught up. The Islanders suffered defeat for only the second time this season after going down 3-0 to a rejuvenated Kerala Blasters. Sahal Samad found the net in the first half with a neatly placed volley past Mohammad Nawaz’s near post. Alvaro Vazquez one upped him with a volley from the edge of the box that few into the net to make it 2-0 right after the restart. Mourtada Fall was shown a second yellow inside the first five minutes of the second half but the referee pointed to the spot even with the infringement happening well outside the box. Jorge Pereyra Diaz tucked it away to make it 3-0 and the Islanders, a man down, were left to chase a game that was well beyond their reach that ended in the club’s heaviest defeat in 677 days since 12 February 2020.
Last season’s semifinalists NorthEast United started off the season scripting a piece of history - they became the first side to appoint a full-time Indian head coach in Khalid Jamil. Khalid, who has been with the Guwahati-based side in various roles for a third season running took charge of a team that had lost a a few key names over the summer. After a slow start that saw NEUFC win one game in five, compounded by the loss of influential midfielder Federico Gallego amidst many other injuries, the Highlanders have struggled to pick out results despite positive performances in majority of their games.
NorthEast United were the only side to beat the Islanders twice, and one of those defeats came against a performance typical of a Khalid Jamil side, a hardworking side. Des Buckingham’s Mumbai City will fully know what to expect when the two sides meet and with sights firmly set on bouncing back from that shock defeat to Kerala Blasters, the Islanders have their task cut out.
Vignesh Dakshinamurthy has returned to full training and is in contention for selection tomorrow, according to Des Buckingham.
Khalid Jamil has confirmed the absence of Khassa Camara from tomorrow’s action while Deshorn Brown is in line to feature along with the rest of the squad.
Who said what:
Des Buckingham: "Regardless of where the teams are in the table right now, any team in this league is capable of beating anyone. We have seen examples of that not just in our own games, but we are seeing examples of that in the most recent games of the past round or two. So, it's important, regardless of what is going in other clubs, and who is available and who isn't, we coach and prepare for every team that we play as well as we possibly can."
Rahul Bheke: "So far it has been good. We have got positive results and we are on the top of the table, so far the experience has been good with my new coach, with my new teammates. I am enjoying my time here with my team."
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.
23 Dec: Hyderabad FC 1-1 SC East Bengal (Ogbeche 35’; Dervisevic 20’)
24 Dec: Odisha FC 1-1 FC Goa (Jonatha 53’; Gonzalez 42’)
Fixtures coming up:
26 Dec: Kerala Blasters vs Jamshedpur FC (Tilak Maidan; 7.30pm)
27 Dec: NorthEast United vs Mumbai City (Fatorda Stadium; 7.30pm)