Chennaiyin FC grabbed a much deserved first win of the campaign as they ran out 2-0 winners over FC Goa.
Both the sides went into the match without a win in the two games played thus far in the current campaign. Zico’s FC Goa were looking to open their account while Marco Matterazi’s Chennaiyin FC side already had 1 point from their first two games. The match was a repeat of last year’s final albeit with both the sides sitting precariously in the bottom half of the table in the present scenario.
The match started with FC Goa having the upper foot in the early stages of the game but Chennaiyin FC struck first as Hans Mulder scored in the 15th minute of the game to give his side the lead. The defending champions did not put their foot off the pedestal as captain for the night, Indian veteran Mehrajuddin Wadoo scored before the half-hour mark to extend Chennaiyin FC’s lead.
The rest of the match was more a case of Chennaiyin FC sitting back and absorbing Goa’s pressure, who had substantially more attempts but failed to find the back of the net. In the end, the defending champions prevailed to grab their first win of the campaign while Zico must now find some solutions to the FC Goa riddle and fast.
Mumbai City FC look to continue their good form as they face a Kerala Blasters yet to score a goal in the current Indian Super League campaign.
The aforementioned fixture is a true testament to the topsy-turvy nature of the illustrious league. Kerala Blasters, who had an amazing first season in the Indian Super League now find themselves languishing at the bottom without a single win and uncharacteristically, without a single goal in the 3 games played thus far.
Mumbai City FC, on the other hand, who have failed to finish higher than 6th in either of the last two editions, find themselves sitting comfortably in second place and, judging by their displays, deservedly so. They are yet to face defeat in the current campaign as the two sides are at opposite ends of the ISL table as well as the form table.
One team yet to lose a game and the other yet to win a game, the match should look done and dusted, at least, on paper. But, Kerala Blasters have not had woeful performances this season. They have been pipped narrowly while their last game saw an even better defensive display as they held the free scoring Delhi side to a 0-0 draw.
Mumbai City FC is managed by Alexandre Guimares, who did not have even nearly as glittering of a career as his counterpart Steve Coppell but has considerable amount of managerial experience having coached the likes of Al Wasl, Saprissa, Herediano while the Costa Rican also has had the privilege to manage the national teams of Costa Rica and Panama.
On paper, the quality is evidently present in both the squads but it is Mumbai City F.C. whose players have displayed it on the field up until now. But, there is no guarantee as to when the Kerala side would wake up and start honing their talents the way they should have from the start.
Another advantage, albeit off-pitch, is the stadium and fans as Kerala play the hosts. Their 60,000 capacity stadium has almost acted as the 12th man for their side and are likely to come in numbers again as Kerala look to upset the odds and deny the form guide to march to victory against a Mumbai City F.C. side who look determined to right the wrongs of the past two seasons.
Mumbai City FC will be without the services of Pronay Halder, who is serving a suspension after the player received two yellow cards in the last match. Meanwhile, Diego Forlan is set to miss the game as confirmed by the manager. Key Indian figures in Goalkeeper Amrinder Singh and mercurial forward Sunil Chhetri will also be unavailable for the in-form Mumbai side owing to AFC Cup duties but there is some good news amidst all this as Haiti forward Sony Norde is likely to be in contention for a start.
Kerala Blasters on the other hand, are likely to welcome veteran and marquee player for the season, Aaron Hughes, who missed the earlier game due to international duties. The Northern Ireland veteran is likely to slot in at the heart of the Kerala defence replacing Hengbart who suffered a groin injury last season.
Kerala Blasters 0 – 0 Mumbai City F.C.
A win here would take Mumbai City FC back to the top but Guimares faces the uphill task of marshalling his side to another win in the midst of several key absentees for the game. Kerala Blasters would be boosted by the return of Aaron Hughes to their starting lineup and Coppell would look for his defence to start where they left off last game.