The Mariners look to couple their resurgence with another strong win but a Khalid Jamil led side, smarting from their latest defeat, will look to set records straight...
For Mumbai FC, their current predicament is a direct offset of their home form. They have played five games at home so far, winning NONE. Two losses and three draws simply isn’t championship form, especially at home.
Khalid Jamil, the coach of Mumbai FC, has acknowledged that his side have lacked concentration and competence in certain facets of the game and has promised to double down on those issues. One of the major problems is that his side have lacked a bit of creativity which directly hampers their ability to score.
Another mounting lump of trouble has been the sudden conspicuous drop in the form of Afghan prodigy Haroon Amiri. They rely on him a little too much and his form has troubled Jamil’s team as the tactics revolve around Amiri’s ability to adapt to different parts of the pitch. He will be suspended for this game on account of his direct red card and this will finally test Mumbai’s ability to cope without their star man.
"We need to reflect on what we can do differently to patch up the mistakes against Mohun Bagan," said Jamil.
Jayesh Rane is a star capable of producing on the big stage and the coach will hope he can step up in this all important fixture, while Orok Essien has been a major disappointment. Mumbai currently lie in seventh, three adrift of United SC in fifth having played the same number of games as the Kolkata outfit. So they will hope to win to close the gap. John Coutinho will be absent due to an injury while experienced defender Valeriano Rebello hurt his knee ahead of the game against Shillong Lajong and looks set for a lengthy lay off.
Yusif Yakubu will not be available yet again as he hasn't got the visa for India.
Mohun Bagan, meanwhile, find themselves on the same page as the Mumbai based outfit. They have recently climbed out of the relegation zone, owing to their hard fought win over Salgaocar FC. The Mariners currently lie in ninth, a point behind their hosts for the next match.
Karim Bencherifa, the coach of the Kolkata outfit, will hope their latest and first win of the season will spark a fight back of sorts that will help Bagan garner the victories they require. This is why he will go all out to ensure a victory against Mumbai FC, to prevent a relapse.
Bagan will look to capitalize on the home side’s poor home form. They have been casual on the road so far and will look to get the important away win. Odafa Okolie is again expected to miss out with him still recovering. “Since we were not winning games, I feel it had become a psychological barrier for the players," highlighted the Moroccan.
Katsumi Yusa has been excellent in the attacking third - a revelation that Bagan so required, while Eric Muranda and Chinadorai Sabeeth will look to take pressure away from Odafa and score a few. Much improved striking form will no doubt infuse confidence back into the squad. Aniyiche Echezona is back after his red card suspension.
In the last eight games that these two teams have faced each other, Bagan have come out the fairer side, winning four compared to Mumbai’s two victories. Two games have ended as draws.
"Mumbai FC can beat anyone on their day," said Bencherifa.
With both teams having so much at stake, it is but natural that a cagey tepid affair could be on the offering. But once the shackles loosen, we should expect a classic all-out attack encounter.
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