Mumbai: Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters FC will be desperate to pick up their second win of the season when they meet at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Thursday.
Jorge Costa’s side has now gone five matches without a win and their only win came against Kerala Blasters in Kochi in their first match of the season. While the performances have offered promise, the Islanders have lacked killer instinct in games and have not been able to see off matches. Mumbai are seventh on the table with six points, one spot and a point better than what their opponents have managed.
Mumbai’s all-Indian backline will need to improve as they have been caught out far too many times in recent matches. Their last outing saw ATK’s Roy Krishna equaliser in the sixth minute of injury time to share the spoils with the match ending 2-2.
Portuguese coach Costa admitted that Mumbai are under pressure to deliver victories, their opponents also face a similar situation.
“The pressure will be on both teams. We are playing under pressure because we need points. We need to be close to the part (in the table) we want and I think that we deserve it. Yes, we are playing under pressure and that’s okay. It is part of football,” Costa said.
“It is always a problem when you lose points because of an individual’s mistake, but the good thing that we must take away from the last two games is that we are playing as a team, we are playing good. We have a lot of quality in our game,” he added.
In the other camp, Eelco Schattorie’s bad run on the field remains unbroken. Following a draw against FC Goa despite dominating large parts of the ninety minutes in Kochi, Kerala Blasters are still chasing their second win of the season since an opening day triumph.
Kerala Blasters have done better in away games rather than in front of their home crowd in the last few years and Schattorie will be hoping the fortunes will favour the visitors in Mumbai. Raphael Messi Bouli and Bartholomew Ogbeche played together upfront for the team against Goa and the coach will expect the duo to combine effectively against the Mumbai defence that has been known to leak goals.
“It’s a simple reality and I’m a bit annoyed by the scoreboard analysis. We have played six games and every time I have to take a step forward, we have had to take two steps back. This has got to do a lot with the injuries,” said Schattorie.
Kerala Blasters continue to be without the services of Gianni Zuiverloon in defence, Mario Arques and Moustapha Gning in midfield. Their replacements in the starting lineup have done reasonably well with Jeakson Singh being particularly composed and mature beyond his age.
“I still think that there has been a lot of progress from individual players. We still put up a good show against Bengaluru and last week against Goa, and we can only thank ourselves for not winning that game where there was a goal in the last minute of the game,” the Dutchman said.
With both teams looking for their second win of the season, the fixture promises to be a competitive affair.