Mumbai FC take on Pune FC on Sunday in the Maha Derby with the Red Lizards out for revenge...
Pune FC take on Mumbai FC on Sunday in Round-19 of the I-League. The match dubbed the ‘Maha Derby’, will be played at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi in Pune. The Red Lizards lost 2-1 when these sides met last and will be keen to get the better of their counterparts this time around.
As far as the league goes, Pune are head and shoulders above Mumbai. They sit third in the table with 28 points, having drawn with Myanmar’s Nay Pyi Taw FC 2-2 in the AFC Cup two days ago, and winning their last I-League game 2-0 against Mohammedan Sporting.
Mumbai on the other hand, have suffered in the league. They drew the last game 1-1 against leaders Bengaluru FC, but Khalid Jamil’s side are slipping quickly as they languish in 10th place. Winless in 7, they have drawn 4 games since December with their last win coming against Pune in the reverse fixture.
Mumbai have brought in foreigners Ebi Sukore and Alfred Jaryan in place of Sandjar Ahmadi and Haroon Amiri. Sukore re-signed for the club while defender Rahul Bheke and midfielder Sehnaj Singh were signed from Mumbai Tigers recently and may be utilized. Jaryan will be used as a striker alongside Yusif Yakubu after Henry Ezeh was released.
Pune FC recently re-signed Lester Fernandez from Mumbai Tigers and he looked in good touch against Pyi Taw. Coach Mike Snoei will no doubt be pleased with the performances of Englishman Calum Angus and midfielder Douhou Pierre in the AFC Cup and will hope they continue in that stead.
Gabriel Fernandes has also adapted to his new club well. Their latest signing - Croatian-born Australian striker Mirjan Pavlovic from Sydney United was only confirmed yesterday and he will no doubt be a huge boost for the side as we approach the business end of the season.
Snoei ahead of the game, “we want some revenge. We still remember the last game. We played well, but they won it. It’s also about the results.”
He further added, “we need to win tomorrow to stay in the race for winning a trophy this season. It’s a heavy schedule now with a lot of fixtures. It’s a very important game and the players are looking forward to it.”
On the team he said, “Mustapha Riga is a doubt for tomorrow. Captain Anas Edathodika and Arata Izumi are both out with injuries. But we have seen other players stepping up in their absence which is a good sign. So it is going to be a healthy fight for some players to get back into the team.”
The importance of the game will not be lost on either side. Mumbai are slowly but surely slipping into the relegation zone with Mohammedan just 2 points behind them in 12th closing in, while title chasing Pune are three points behind leaders Bengaluru.