KICK-OFF: Dec. 16, 7.30PM IST [GMT +5.30], Mumbai Football Arena.
Channel; Streaming: Star Sports HD1, 1, 3; Hotstar, Jio TV.
Mumbai City FC will look to solidify their stay in the top 4 when they host a struggling Kerala Blasters in the last league game before the winter break for the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
The Islanders are on an unbeaten run of seven matches in which they picked up five wins and two draws and are the current form team in the league.
Statistically, they are the league’s best defensive side after Bengaluru FC and their organisation at the back has been a vital component of their recent successes. Their seven-game streak has also seen them keep five clean sheets.
Mumbai have an improbable lineup of goalscorers in attacking midfielders Modou Sougou, Rafael Bastos, Arnold Issoko and Raynier Fernandes. With no recognised goalscorer in their ranks, their hardworking midfield feeds off each other.
In their most recent game against Bengaluru FC, they got themselves a point after being down to 10 men for almost the entirety of the second half.
With defensive solidity in Lucian Goian and Subhashish Bose, Mumbai City FC don’t look like conceding a goal against a not so prolific Kerala side. Tonight should be a wrap for them if they can manage a goal or two considering their recent disruption into the top 4.
Dwindling home support and poor tactics are only one-half of the problems Kerala have had to contend with this season. Their forward line has been mostly under par when compared to the number of chances they’ve been at the receiving end of. Coupled with costly errors in defence, they are a side that looks most vulnerable after they’ve taken the lead.
The Kerala side have a solitary win to their credit and that was on the opening day of the ISL season against ATK. After a clutch of draws and defeats, they see themselves now in eighth position with a real danger of their season being rendered irrelevant. Their most recent game saw them lose against a Pune City side who were below them on the table.
Key players for Kerala tonight will be the Indian midfielders Len Doungel and Sahal Abdul Samad. Both of these players will have to play out of their skins tonight for Kerala to have some semblance of hope, at least theoretically to make the final cut.
FULL-TIME: Mumbai City FC 6-1 Kerala Blasters
95′ GOAL! 6-1 [Modou Sougou, Mumbai City]
89′ GOAL! 5-1 [M. Mirabaje, Assist: Arnold Issoko, Mumbai City]
70′ GOAL! 4-1 [Rafael Bastos, Assist: Arnold Issoko, Mumbai City]
30′ GOAL! 3-1 [Modou Sougou, Header, Assist: Subhashish Bose, Mumbai City]
27′ GOAL! 2-1 [S. Doungel, Kerala Blasters]
15′ GOAL! 2-0 [Modou Sougou, Assist: R. Fernandes, Mumbai City]
11′ GOAL! 1-0 [Modou Sougou, Assist: Paulo Machado, Mumbai City]
A Modou Sougou finishing masterclass saw Mumbai City FC blitz past Kerala Blasters in a lopsided Sunday Night affair. The Senegalese striker scored a hattrick in the space of 19 minutes in the first half to put the game beyond doubt for the Islanders.
Kerala got a goal back in the 27th minute when Mumbai were 2-0 up from a Len Doungel finish after the ball fell kindly to him from a Sahal Abdul Samad run into the box.
A couple of minutes later, Mumbai reestablished their two-goal cushion from a Subhasish Bose cross from the left flank which was met perfectly by Modou Sougou who headed it past the keeper to complete his hat-trick.
With half-time approaching and trailing 1-3, Kerala dug themselves into a deeper hole after the midfielder Zakeer Mundampara was sent off for a second yellow card offence.
Mumbai progressively got better in the second half (Running Sum xG) with Arnold Issoko running the Kerala defence haggard. It feels odd to say this, but Modou Sougou could’ve gotten himself a second-half hat-trick (Top Shooters xG) as well – such were the quality of chances on offer today.
Paulo Machado and Arnold Issoko were the architects in chief whenever Mumbai went forward (Top Creators xG).
The Islanders added a fourth and a fifth late in the second half with Rafael Bastos and Matias Mirabaje scoring from outside the box while the Kerala defence watched on.
Modou Sougou finished off with his fourth goal when he rolled the ball into an empty net late in second-half stoppage time to complete the humiliation. He is now the second on the goalscoring charts behind Coro and the only player to have scored four goals in an ISL game.
As far as Kerala are concerned, the less said the better – which is why we will restrict ourselves to a few words in memoriam to mark the end of their league campaign.
David James persisted with Sandesh Jhingan in the right full-back position after the Pune debacle. Two goals out of the three Mumbai scored early in the first half came originated from his flank.
A strange substitution early at half-time Sahal Abdul Samad being yanked off – unfortunately, Sahal was the only player who alongside Len Doungel had a decent first-half.
With clueless tactics abound, Kerala lacked bite in attack with most of their attempts on goal (Top Shooters xG) low percentage hopeful shots at best from outside the area. In defence, they seemed to give up after going three goals down and that is an alarming sign that there is a desperate need for change.