Kochi, Oct 4: Riding on thumping victory over mighty ATK in their first outing, confident Kerala Blasters will take on Mumbai City FC in the fifth edition of the ISL at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium here on Friday.
Kerala Blasters, which was entering in front of the yellow sea fans, was expected to electrify the gallery with the intention of kissing the prestigious cup, which they had lost at last moments, in earlier occasions.
The match had also a peculiarity, as Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, who owned the yellow tuskers, left the club. The presence of the master blaster had always enthralled the gallery and received the support from its fans in the presence of Sachin.
The starting was in fashion and they wiped out the challenge of mighty ATK by two goals in the opening match at the arch rival ATK’s citadel itself, boosted the confidence of the yellow brigadiers, trained by former England International David James, who took over as head coach in January 2018.
Of course, the morale of the blasters team members would be high with the victory against ATK and they would continue the strategies, threaded out by none other than James, to kill the challenge of Mumbai squad.
There would be no doubt the two scoring machines, Matej Poplatnik and Slavisa Stojanovic, who carved out a deserving victory through their telling goals, would the trump card in their first home match as well.
It was expected that James would follow the same strategy of fielding four overseas foreigners would filed against Mumabi, like he did in the previous match against ATK, which yielded the desired result.
Dheeraj Singh, who guarded the goal in the previous season, has improved a lot, shrugging off his nervousness in his entry to the ISL in last season for Kerala Blasters, would continue his responsibility under bar, giving no chance to their rivals.
Regarding defence, Sandesh Jhingan and Nemanja Lakic Pesic would continue their service guarding their fort without any cracks.
For visitors Mumbai, the match is very crucial, as they had lost their first match in their home ground against Jamshedpur FC by two goals. So, they will take out to open their score board by do or die tactics.
The defence side, include Lucian Goian and Marko Klisura, was off in color in the last match, which paid them high value, losing to Jamshedpur.
The Mumbai team will give more trust to Modu Soudou, who did not make much of an impact given his tendency to go down easily in the box.
Even, if the defence and forwards lacked coordination and committed lapses in the previous match, they have a dangerous man in the squad, Paulo Machado, who is notorious for his free kicks, which of course a leather weapon for Mumbai, to use against their rivals.
Going through the previous league encounters between Kerala Blasters and Mumbai, of the eight matches they fought, Kerala blasters won thrice while Mumbai once and four matched ended in draw. Of the four match played against Mumbai in Kochi, three matched ended draw while the other won by Kerala. As far as Mumbai is concerned, they had ever tasted victory in Kochi ground.
In place of Sachin Tendulkar, in this edition Malayalam super star Mohanlal would join with the Kerala Blasters squad as 12th man to enthral the gallery as well as boost confidence to the Blasters squad. (UNI)