The final Indian Super League 2018-19 match before the winter break will see high-flying Mumbai City FC host a struggling Kerala Blasters FC side at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday
Three points from the fixture will be particularly important to Kerala to keep themselves afloat in the race for a playoff spot, at least mathematically.
After a thumping winner against ATK in the opening game of the season, Blasters gradually forgot the basic tactics of winning matches. David James’ team never won a game after that and has only taken points from 6 draws. At the end of a dismal phase, the Kerala team are 8th on the points table with 9 points.
Scoring goals have been a major issue for Kerala this season. The team has one of the worst goal returns in the league so far and have found the net just eleven times in as many matches. A leaky defence, prone to conceding late goals, haven’t helped their cause either.
Mumbai City made a good comeback from the quiet initial phase of the season, where they played 1 draw and 2 losses including a massive demolition at the hands of FC Goa (5-2). However, Mumbai rejuvenated well from the last week of October and has remained unbeaten from thereon. During the course of the season, Jorge Costa’s team has played 11 matches and won 6 of them. With 21 points, they stand 2nd on the points table, having sealed their position before the vacations.
The Mumbai defence has been at the heart of their seven-match unbeaten streak. Lucian Goian and Co. have conceded just three times in these seven matches, while keeping five clean sheets. On the attacking front, the likes of Modou Sougou and Arnold Issoko seem to have hit their stride of late and will prove to be a stiff challenge for the Kerala defence.
MUMBAI CITY FC: Amrinder Singh (GK), Sauvik Chakrabarti, Lucian Goian, Joyner Lourenco, Subhasish Bose, Arnold Issoko, Raynier Fernandes, Milan Singh, Paulo Machado (C), Modou Sougou, Rafael Bastos
KERALA BLASTERS FC: Dheeraj Singh (GK), Sandesh Jhingan (C), Anas Edathodika, Nemanja Lakic-Pesic, Cyril Kali, Zakeer Mundampara, Nikola Krcmarevic, Sahal Abdul Samad, CK Vineeth, Halicharan Narzary, Matej Poplatnik