Saturday 16th of February 2019
Mumbai have mountain to climb in Kerala Kochi, October 4: After an uplifting opening day win, Kerala Blasters FC will seek to maintain the momentum as they host Mumbai City FC in their first home game of the season at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi, on Friday. Kerala defeated ATK 2-0 in Kolkata in the opening game and will now be in a buoyant mood. Strikers Slavisa Stojanovic and Matej Poplatnik were both among the goals and will provide Mumbai City with a stern test of their defence which was breached twice by Jamshedpur FC. “We have got so many players who have been training and have put themselves in a position to be selected. For any manager, the difficulty is a fully fit squad with everyone ready to go. The two guys who scored (against ATK) did well. Watching the videos, we created a lot of chances in the game from a lot of different players,” said coach David James. Besides the goals, Kerala maintained a clean slate with Serbian defender Nemanja Lakic-Pesic receiving generous praise from the coach. “I am not sure Lakic Pesic stepped in because Anas was absent. He is one of those who deserved the right to start. As a coach, the best thing is to have is everybody playing well,” said James. Mumbai City are yet to win an ISL match in Kochi, with three draws and a defeat in the last four games. The Islanders will be keen to bounce back after suffering a defeat in their own backyard against Jamshedpur FC. Coach Jorge Costa will look to change some personnel as many didn’t live up to expectations. “I am not happy with the result (against Jamshedpur). Our first half was nothing special. Second half we created a lot of chances to score. In the last five minutes, it was a horrible. In the end, we lost the game and lost three points. I am here to try to win the three points,” said Costa. Sehnaj Singh is expected to be fit for the tie while Milan Singh could also possibly make an appearance against his former team. However, Mumbai City will be without Davinder Singh and Anwar Ali. Mumbai City have played just one game so far but coach Costa admitted they are under pressure to open their account. “It is true that tomorrow, we have this pressure to get some points. Because Kerala play at home and after their last game, they will have pressure (to win again),” he said.