Diego Forlan is nearing 40 but he showed that age is just a number once you find you rythm on the field. Within the first five minutes, he got the net bulging. The second was the one that was special. A curling free kick of that took us back to his days in the Uruguay jersey in the 2010 World Cup.
Mumbai City FC seem to have been feeding off the energy from those two goals as they smashed three more in the second, one of which was the one that got Forlan his hat trick. The match was expected to be a close one, it turned out to be anything but.
Mumbai City FC’s home record and lack of goals will be a big concern as they host Kerala Blasters in a crucial match of Hero Indian Super League at Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai, on Saturday.
Fixtures between Mumbai City and Kerala Blasters have witnessed only four goals: the lowest aggregate in any fixture between two sides in the history of ISL. Both Kerala and Mumbai have conceded the fewest goals (8) this season, and given that Mumbai have scored only two goals at home – the lowest by a home team in ISL 2016 – the absence of goals from some of Mumbai City’s big name players was uppermost on the mind of coach Alexandre Guimaraes.
“In football, you must have confidence in your players at all times. We have top quality players in all departments. Up front, we have all very good high quality players. It’s a matter of patience. It happens in football. The main thing for these players is that they have chances. I know sooner than later they will convert more than what they have been doing,” said Guimaraes.
Mumbai City FC, second on the table with 16 points, have scored only three goals in the last six matches and drawn a blank in the last two games against FC Pune City, which they lost at home, and FC Goa, which they managed to draw in Goa.
Mumbai have managed to win only one out of their four home matches this season: they won their first home game against NorthEast United FC but have since struggled to show the same form at home, winning just four points from a possible 12.
Now placed third with 15 points from 10 matches, Kerala Blasters have had a sudden change in fortunes after recording two back-to-back victories at home against FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC. The man who sparked the turnaround is striker CK Vineeth, who has scored in both the games since joining the club from Bengaluru FC.
“Vineeth’s impact has been substantial,” admitted coach Steve Coppell. Vineeth has played just 112 minutes so far and scored the winner against FC Goa after coming off the bench and then scored a brace against Chennaiyin FC during his first start. In a wasteful Kerala forward line, Vineeth’s accuracy has been refreshing as his five shots so far have all been on target.
Coppell, however, will need an all-round contribution from his team to weather the Mumbai challenge, especially at this stage of the league where every team will put in those extra efforts to qualify for the play-offs.
“Every game for every team is crucial now. Every team is still capable of being in the play-off. We are playing against a very good team. They have invested a lot in their team and have some super players. We know we have to play well to get something out of this game. Three points are vital for every game,” said Coppell.
“The premium now at the end of the league is on winning games. I think teams will adjust their styles. In the first two-thirds, the emphasis were on not getting beaten, now the emphasis for every team has to be a win. Three points makes such a difference. May be the remaining games of the season will be a little bit more open,” said the Kerala Blasters manager.
GOAL!! Mumbai City 1-0 Kerala Blasters (Diego Forlan 4′)
Its the Uruguayan legend again. Forlan managed to get away from the Kerala defender and found himself in space in the box when the ball came in. He did everything else right and found the back of the net
GOAL!! Mumbai City 2-0 Kerala Blasters (Diego Forlan 14′)
He has got his eyes on it now. It was a lovely free kick that is hark back from the 2010 World Cup. He took it well and curled into the the top left corner.
20′ gone Mumbai City Fc 2-0 Kerala Blasters
Kerala are desperately trying to make a mark in the game but it already seems like an uphill struggle for them to get even a point out of this match. They don’t have a very good scoring record and now they have to score at least two to draw. Mumbai, meanwhile, seem to be just enjoying their game at the moment
30′ gone Mumbai City FC 2-0 Kerala Blasters
Mumbai have decided to sit back and defence and wait for a chance to counter. It’s incredible how two moments has let Dieog Forlan change the complexion of the game. Mumbai looking very comfortabloe at the moment.
40′ gone Mumbai 2-0 Kerala Blasters
Kerala had a good chance when Kadio took a shot from far off. It grazed the back of the net as it went over.
Half Time!! Mumbai City FC 2-0 Kerala Blasters
Two goals from Diego Forlan has seemingly decided the match already as Kerala Blasters simply don’t look like they can overturn this deficit. r
GOAL!! Mumbai City FC 3-0 Kerala Blasters (Diego Forlan 62′)
And that’s the hat trick for Diego Forlan. Vadocz lofted the ball to Soni Norde at the edge of thebox who touched it to Diego Forlan waiting in front of him. He had no one near him and only had the goalkeeper to beat. This is masterclass from the Uruguayan and Mumbai City FC overall.
GOAL!! Mumbai City 4-0 Kerala Blasters (Soni Norde 68′)
Diego Forlan had just been taken off and it seemed like Mumbai might be taking the foot off the paddle. Enter Soni Norde, who ran into the box skipping past a defender and smashed the ball into the top corner.
GOAL!! Mumbai City FC 5-0 Kerala Blasters (Goian 73′)
Kerala seem to have come to a point where they can’t even defend even the most basic of set pieces. Goian was not accompanied by many others in the box but and was still able to get the header in. This is not just a victory but a statement from Mumbai City FC, that they are one of the sides to beat this season.
GOAL!! Mumbai City 4-0 Kerala Blasters (Cafu 68′)
Diego Forlan had just been taken off and it seemed like Mumbai might be taking the foot off the paddle. Enter Cafu, who ran into the box skipping past a defender and smashed the ball into the top corner.
85′ gone Mumbai City FC 5-0 Kerala Blasters
Its very rare to see such one sided match in the ISL. Mumbai have made the most out of the chances and Punished Kerala’s defensive errors. While Diego Forlan has led from the fron with the hat-trick, the two goals that have gone in after is only proof that Mumbai’s teamwork has been far better than their opponents’
FULL TIME!! Mumbai City FC 5-0 Kerala Blasters
Diego Forlan struck first in the 4th minute and there was no looking back ever since. This his would seriously hurt Kerala Blasters. While a defeat of this scale tends to take a mental effect on the players, on the points table, such a pounding will seriously hurt their goal difference.