Kochi, December 2: After two successive draws, Kerala Blasters FC will hope they are third time lucky at home as they face Mumbai City FC in a Hero Indian Super League clash at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday (December 3).
Kerala Blasters are one of just three teams to not have registered a win in the fourth season of ISL, and will face a side which suffered from a Maharashtra derby defeat.
Mumbai City FC will play the Blasters on the back of a narrow 1-2 defeat against FC Pune City, but will take heart from the fact that their opponents have not even scored a goal in two games yet.
What faces them though, is not just the prospect of last year's finalists, but also the incredible atmosphere in Kochi.
Kerala Blasters have already hosted Jamshedpur FC and ATK at home, and will want to notch a win before they travel to Goa for their first away match of the season on December 9.
The Yellow Army's coach hinted that former Manchester United defender Wes Brown will be eased into the side rather than start a game due to the fine form of centre-back pairing Sandesh Jhingan and Nemanja Lakic-Pesic. He also said that not just the fans, but everyone who was part of the team was wondering who will score the first Blasters goal this season.
"The first thing is to not let the issue get bigger than it is. We are still in the process of developing as a side. We were better in the second game than the first and we are keeping clean sheets. We kept the ball better, there was penetration and cutting edge and we created chances, but we know the most important goal to score in any season is the first one. It will bring confidence to the team and create a different sort of flow. We keep focussing that the players understand what we need to do next. To win a match, we need to score goals," head coach Rene Meulensteen said.
Mumbai City's head coach Alexandre Guimaraes has a tough task on hand to negotiate three of their first four matches which are being played away at the start of the season.
"We have to handle this and our aim now is to recover from the tough game against Pune. The players will give everything they have to fight for the three points and then have time in Mumbai where we play two games at home," he said.
Kerala are baying for a win and growing in confidence over the last two games, and Guimaraes' side will have to be at their best to handle their counter-attacking prowess. It'll be a cracker of a match between a side that reached the finals last season against one which ended on top of the table under the same manager.
Match begins at 8PM and is live on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD