ISL 2018-19: Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City, 5 Talking Points
Kerala Blasters went on top of the Indian Super League season 5 table at least for the next few hours after their draw against Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday. Mumbai climbed up to eighth after registering their first point of the season.
This was the ninth encounter between the two teams. In the previous eight matches, both teams had won two each while four encounters had ended in a stalemate.
Kerala coach David James named an unchanged line-up. On the other hand, Mumbai coach Jorge Costa made four changes after their frustrating defeat against Jamshedpur FC.
Kerala went ahead in the 24th minute in front of their vociferous fans. Upon receiving Nikola Krcmaveric’s beautiful backheel pass, Semilen Doungel crossed it on the right side. Holicharan Narzary took a single touch before his left-footed shot beat Amrinder Singh and flew home.
However, in the dying moments, 19-year-old Pranjal Bhumij scored a piledriver which ensured his team took home at least a point.
Here are the five talking points of the game:
#1 Mumbai attack depends on Issoko
Mumbai coach Jorge Costa made four changes which strengthened his team’s defence and midfield. But on the attacking front, they lacked the spark. Costa fielded Modou Sougou as the lone striker and deployed Raphael Bastos and Arnold Issoko as wingers.
For a large part of the match, all the attacks of Mumbai were created from the right side and Issoko was at the centre of it. Bastos played for 90 minutes but why his role was curbed is unknown. During some moments, it seemed he lacked mental strength and fitness and was not yet ready to play a full match.
Despite having a beautiful player like Matias Mirabaje, Costa kept him on the bench for 65 minutes. Finally, after his introduction, Mumbai looked stable in their attack and Kerala's defence was losing concentration due to the immense pressure applied by Mumbai, which culminated in a goal.
Issoko was impressive throughout the match, and if he had converted his chances, Mumbai could have won the contest. Like their previous match against Jamshedpur, Mumbai attackers were quiet during the first half, but came back as a confident unit in the second half and created some amazing goal-scoring opportunities.
However, there needs to be a proper plan for Bastos. He created only one chance, which is unexpected from a winger.