Mumbai’s defensive competence, shown against Sporting Goa, should be tested by a strong Dempo attack who aim to set records straight after humiliation last week...
Arthur Papas will be itching to get his team onto the pitch early and ensure they’re pre-match fitness rituals go as planned. The Goa outfit’s Aussie boss, whose reign as Dempo coach got off to the unauspicious of starts will want his team to sink their teeth into the pie as soon as possible.
Papas, acknowledged his team's shortcomings explaining, “When you feel you control big portions of the game, you create many chances and then you lose three-nil; it's difficult for everyone, it's difficult for me, it's difficult for the playing group."
“There's a lot to work on. You have got to get better obviously. The midfield has to develop a better understanding, but I don't want to pinpoint just a certain section.”
This is certainly a view expressed by Gabriel Fernandes of Dempo who plied his trade for Mumbai FC last term. “We have been training hard after the first match and there is positivity among the squad members. I can say that we have been focusing on this upcoming match and will try to please our fans with full points.
“It is always difficult for any team who plays away matches and hence there are equal chances for both the teams, but we are confident and fully prepared. I think we can expect a good contest against Mumbai FC as they too are a competitive side,” stated the Goan lad.
Mumbai FC will look to carry on from a strong defensive outing against Sporting in which they took the lead but had it cut back thanks to a rare defensive error. Khalid Jamil did say his team hadn’t trained together for an extended period of time and that any further I-League progress would depend on how well they gel.
Mumbai's manager Henry Picado believes his team have ability to force the issue on Dempo. "The ground is perfect to start the match on. There has been a shortage of water but it's been raining over the last few days. We need to capitalise on Dempo's poor start as they are in a transitional year. It's a good chance for us to force the issue."
The lights will be on Valeriano Rebello who has played his entire career at Dempo while Climax Lawrence, the inspirational ex-India skipper will be facing his former side.
Mumbai find themselves in trouble with a distinct lack of foreigners. Yusif Yakubu is yet to come aboard while Sanjdar Ahmadi's chances of featuring will be known later in the day. Subhash Chakraborty has had a quadricep injury and thus Ashutosh Mehta is likely to start. Only Essien Okro and Haroon Amiri are at the coach's disposal from their foreign contingent, as revealed by Picado.
Thus the Mumbai-Dempo affair has all the makings of a classic slugfest, winner takes all. Dempo need this more than the westerners as their pedigree will suggest, however, Mumbai will look be the invisible needle and possibly surprise the Goans with a strong pinch when they least expect it.
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