Mumbai City FC aim to put one hand on League Shield as they take on title challengers Odisha FC

Indian Super League 2023-24

Mumbai: Mumbai City FC will face Odisha FC at the Mumbai Football Arena (MFA) on April 8, 2024, at 7:30 pm IST in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24. The two teams are engaged in a competitive tussle for the top spot that can give them a big chance to secure them the League Shield title.

The Islanders are placed up top in the standings with the help of 44 points from 20 matches. They are followed by the Mohun Bagan Super Giant (42) and Odisha FC (39), but interestingly, the Petr Kratky-coached side will face these two opponents in their final couple of league matches.

The Juggernauts have won and drawn twice each in their last five league games. They have slipped down the points table lately, complicating matters amidst their pursuit of a first place finish at the end of 22 games.

The Juggernauts roared back into form with a convincing 3-1 victory in their previous match against Punjab FC. Similarly, Mumbai City FC swept aside Hyderabad FC by 3-0 in their last game, ensuring that these two teams come into this match on the back of a promising run of form.

What’s at stake?

Mumbai City FC

Mumbai City FC have won thrice and drawn once in their last four games against Odisha FC. In fact, they have netted twice each in all of previous seven matches against the Juggernauts. The Islanders have bagged 21 points from their home matches this season, which is as many as they had in the 2022-23 campaign.

Avoiding a defeat against Odisha FC would ensure that Mumbai City FC bags their their highest points tally from home games in a single season while a win would make their tally 24, the outright second highest from home games by any team in a single league stage behind Odisha FC (27 points – W8 D3 in 2023-24).

The Islanders have conceded more than one goal in a home game only once in the last 18 such fixtures, which was their 3-2 loss to Jamshedpur FC in February this year. They have won 11 of those games and drawn four times, losing merely thrice. They tend to play games strongly, having notched nine goals in their last 15 minutes of their matches this season, which is the joint-highest amongst all teams along with Jamshedpur FC (9).

Odisha FC

Odisha FC has kept a clean sheet in five of the last seven away fixtures in the ISL played by the Juggernauts. They have won and drawn thrice each in this phase, giving away only four goals during this period. Prior to that, they had given away a strike in each of their last 18 games on the road. Interestingly, both these sides have fleet footed forwards earning spot-kicks frequently.

Mumbai City FC and Odisha FC have converted five penalties so far, which is the joint-highest amongst all teams in the current campaign. Unlike the Islanders though, the Juggernauts have netted only four goals in the last 15 minutes of their games so far, which is the joint-lowest in the league with Bengaluru FC.

With head coach Sergio Lobera preparing for his 100th ISL match; the Spaniard will be keen to get one over his former team on their home turf.

Key Players to Watch Out

Vikram Partap Singh (Mumbai City FC)

Vikram Partap Singh has scored seven goals and assisted thrice in 19 appearances this season, totalling for 10 goal contributions until now. He has made 69 touches in the box of the opposition, completing 12 successful dribbles, making 14 key passes, and creating 17 goal-scoring opportunities. He has taken 50% of his shots on target, recording 17 passes per game at 74% accuracy. He has made 43 recoveries and won 62 duels, and his goal conversion rate is an impressive 25% currently. The 22-year-old will want to carry this form into the business end of the season.

Isak Vanlalruatfela (Odisha FC)

Isak Vanlalruatfela found the back of the net in their previous match against Punjab FC. He has netted and assisted thrice each in his 20 league appearances this season. Isak has made 26 average passes per game, with an accuracy of 76%. He has made eight interceptions and clearances each, making 86 recoveries, making 10 key passes, creating 13 goal-scoring opportunities, completing 29 successful dribbles, and winning 82 duels in the current campaign. He has won eight aerial duels so far, and has been a dazzling presence in the final third for the Juggernauts.

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