Kerala Blasters, Mumbai City lock horns in virtual knockout match

    Kerala Blasters FC and Mumbai City FC will face off in a virtual shootout for a place in the semifinals, in a rescheduled Indian Super League fixture at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Wednesday.

    Life and death struggle for the playoffs today in the ISL. Currently, Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters are just one point apart. Failure to do so today will put an end to the Kerala Blasters’ play-off hopes. Kerala Blasters now have 30 points and Mumbai City 31 points.

    If they beat Mumbai City today, the semi-final will be in the hands of Kerala. Kerala Blasters FC will take on Goa in the final. Hyderabad and Jamshedpur have already qualified for the play-offs. If the Kerala Blasters lose or draw today, Mohan Bagan will also secure the semi-final.

    Khabra will not be in the Kerala Blasters squad today due to suspension. The club are now hoping that Jackson and Nishu Kumar will play today. The Kerala Blasters had won their first match of the season against Mumbai City. The match, which takes place tonight at 7.30pm, will be televised live on Hotstar and Star StarSports.

    Kerala are placed fifth in the points table with 30 points from 18 matches, one point less than Mumbai who are fourth having 31 points from 18 games.

    With league leaders Hyderabad FC already through to the semis and Jamshedpur FC and ATK Mohun Bagan needing just one point to confirm their place as well, it is Kerala and Mumbai who are likely to fight it out for the last spot.

    The Blasters are placed fifth in the league standings with 30 points from 18 games, one point behind fourth-placed Mumbai City FC. The top four teams at the end of the league stage will qualify for the semifinals. 

    With league leaders Hyderabad FC already assured of a place in the play-offs and Jamshedpur FC and ATK Mohun Bagan needing just one point to confirm their place as well, it is Blasters and Mumbai City who are likely to fight it out for the fourth and final semi-final spot.

    Kerala Blasters’ form has been hot and cold of late, having secured three wins, two defeats and one draw in their last six games. Ivan Vukomanovic’s side got back to winning ways with an impressive 3-0 win over Chennaiyin FC in the last game. Jorge Diaz netted a brace before Adrian Luna got on the score sheet with a superb free-kick gaol to secure all three points for the Yellow Army.

    It was a complete performance from KBFC as they were clinical up front, kept the ball possession, and defended pretty well. The best thing about Vukomanovic’s team has been their game management, being able to take the lead and defend that exceptionally well. KBFC has kept the most number of clean sheets (7) in the league so far and that is a testament to their defensive solidity.

    Luna has been KBFC’s stand out performer this season with seven assists and five goals to his name. The Uruguayan midfielder has scored four world class goals so far including the swirling free-kick against Chennaiyin FC in the last match. 

    Apart from Luna, the forwards, Diaz and Alvaro Vazquez are also in red hot form. Both of them have netted a combined 11 goals while Saha Abdul Samad is also having an impressive season having found the back of the net four times.

    Kerala Blasters: Prabhsukhan Gill (GK); Harmanjot Khabra, Marko Leskovic, Hormipam Ruivah, Sanjeev Stalin; Jeakson Singh, Lalthathanga Khawlhring; Vincy Barretto, Adrian Luna; Alvaro Vazquez, Jorge Pereyra Diaz.

    Mumbai City FC: Mohammed Nawaz (GK); Rahul Bheke, Mourtada Fall, Mehtab Singh, Vignesh; Lalengmawia, Vinit Rai; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Cassinho, Bipin Singh; Igor Angulo.

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