The stage will be set for the Maharashtra derby between Mumbai FC and Pune FC as both teams will be looking to spring back to winning ways...
Stephene, Amiri, Yadav, Quao;
Chakraborty, Gabriel, MehtaMehta, Nicholas;
Tabia, Edathodika, Chika, Costa;
Karma, Pierre, Izumi, Paite;
Mumbai FC’s mid-season rally saw them move from the bottom of the standings to fifth place after Round 12. But following that, in their next six games, the Mumbai team have managed only one win, drawing their last two league games, and their momentum somewhat halted.
Similarly, with progress stalled for the past three rounds, Pune FC’s aim would be to shrug off their winless phase they’ve had at Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex since round 12.
With most of the coaches voicing their concerns over Khalid Jamil's side's time-wasting theatrics, there will be extra pressure on the referee to take note of the same.
|Can Mumbai FC win the return leg of the 'Maha derby?'
Pune FC, likewise, had a nine-match unbeaten run (included seven wins), but ever since Round 15 they have only managed a point against Sporting Clube de Goa at home.
While the Red Lizards have struggled at home, the one-factor that swings in their favour is the superior record they hold in these ‘Maha Derbies’. So far Pune FC have won three and drawn three out of the eight played.
PFC have always done well to hold their fort whenever this fixture has been played in Pune, with back-to-back wins in the last two fixtures at Balewadi (where Pune FC have managed to score thrice on both occasions), preceded by three draws.
|Preview Courtesy: Pune FC|
Mumbai FC: Mumbai FC will miss the services of James Singh due to suspension after the midfielder picked up a red card in Mumbai FC's draw against Dempo SC, while another midfielder Ashutosh Mehta will return from his suspension.
Pune FC: Pune FC have decided to drop midfielder-striker Daisuke Nishiguchi from their 18, while medios Nikhil Kadam and Velington Rocha have been incorporated for the two slots that open in the 18-member squad. Gurjinder Kumar will miss the tie as the left back saw a red card against Salgaocar FC in the last game.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Both Mumbai FC and Pune FC have scored 14 goals in their home games, but the former have conceded half as many (7) as compared to the latter (14).
- Mumbai FC's Abhishek Yadav was part of the national side as a striker but lately has been plying his trade as a center-back for his club.
- Although Pune FC has played a game less (17), the Red Lizards have garnered two wins in surplus to Mumbai FC's seven victories.
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