Second-placed Kerala Blasters face fourth-placed Mumbai City FC in a mammoth clash for the top spot in Kochi on Christmas Eve.
Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City Match Details
Date: Sunday, 24 December 2023
Time: 20:00 (IST)
Venue: Kaloor Stadium, Kochi
Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City Match Preview
Kerala Blasters returned to winning ways after two games through a 51st-minute penalty from Dimitrios Diamantakos breaching a robust Punjab FC’s defence in the 1-0 win. The three points earned took them level with leaders FC Goa although having played two more games than the Gaurs. The Tuskers will feel the victory comes in a crucial period in which they will face two sides right a point below them also gunning for the Shield in the final games of the year, fourth place Mumbai City at home and then Mohun Bagan Super Giant in third away. Taking full points from both will be difficult although the suspension crisis is haunting the pair. Ivan Vukomanovic’s team will not want to lose on head-to-head record at least having suffered a 2-1 defeat in the reverse fixture against the Islanders. Not in their last game of the year in Kochi where they have not lost this season. A win will take them to the top of the table while a defeat will cause them to slip from the second spot.
Mumbai City will have that intention in mind when they step into a sea of yellow before Christmas. However, the Shield holders are forced to do the double over Blasters with a depleted squad after having four players shown the red card in one of the chaotic games played in ISL history. Down by a goal at home against Mohun Bagan Super Giant and left-back Akash Mishra off the field early, Mumbai City did a massive fight-back to win the game 2-1 from there although by then the opposition was down to nine. Rahul Bheke and Hector Yuste were also given marching orders after the game in which controversial decisions took the limelight from the victory. However, inflicting the first defeat of the season on Mohun Bagan brought them level with the Mariners. Now, aiming for a third straight victory in Kochi will pull them to the top of the table which will be an excellent position for them before taking on Chennaiyin FC in the final game of 2023.
KBFC vs MCFC Recent Form (ISL)
Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City Team News
Kerala Blasters took an important win over Punjab FC even without their star man Adrian Luna who is now confirmed to miss the rest of the season. The Uruguayan underwent arthroscopic surgery for the treatment of a chondral knee injury last week. Also missing the last match due to a suspension, Danish Farooq could return to the starting eleven having scored against Mumbai in the reverse clash in October. Although, he will face competition with 20-year Mohammed Azhar who had an excellent 90-plus minutes in Delhi.
However, it is the visitors Mumbai City who will have far more issues in selecting their starting eleven for the match. Petr Kratky’s first victory as head coach for the Islanders came at a cost with four players suspended either for a match or the year. Akash Mishra and Rahul Bheke’s red card means the defence needs a rethink with a foreign duo at the back likely. Yoell van Nieff, who was sent off in the last meeting, could be sacrificed as a result. Vikram Pratap’s second yellow means Valpuia will continue at wing-back with Greg Stewart’s dismissal means El Khayati could be given a start.
Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City Predicted Lineups
Sachin Suresh; Pritam Kotal, Milos Drincic, Marko Leskovic, Huidrom Singh; Daisuke Sakai, Danish Farooq, Vibin Mohanan, Mohammed Aimen; Ishan Pandita, Dimitrios Diamantakos
Mumbai City FC:
Phurba Lachenpa; Rostyn Griffiths, Tiri, Mehtab Singh; Valpuia, Apuia, Vinit Rai, Bipin Singh; El Khayati, Lalianzuala Chhangte; Jorge Diaz
Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City Head to Head
Played - 19
KBFC won - 4
Drawn - 6
MCFC won - 9
Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City Dream11 Team Prediction
It will be a tight contest between the pair but Kerala Blasters is likely to come up top against Mumbai City FC in their home stadium.
Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City Dream11 Top picks
Captain Pick: Dimitrios Diamantakos
Vice-captain Pick: Jorge Diaz
Others: Jorge Diaz, Pritam Kotal
Our top pick for the KBFC vs MUM Dream11 team is Dimitrios Diamantakos who has scored five goals in eight matches for Kerala Blasters.
KBFC vs MUM Dream11 Team Suggestion
GK: Suresh (7.5)
DEF: Kotal (8.5), Griffiths (8.5), Mehtab (8)
MID: Sakai (8.5), Apuia (8.5), Van Nieff (7.5), Farooq (8.5)
FW: Diamantakos (8.5), Diaz (9), Bipin (8)
Captain: Dimitrios Diamantakos
Vice-captain: Jorge Diaz
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