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Mumbai City v Hyderabad

Mumbai City need to address their defensive issues

9:57 AM GMT+4 30/12/2019
Mumbai City FC vs Hyderabad FC; Jorge Costa
The Mumbai club need more from their defence and midfielder players as the club looks to consolidate their spot in the top four...

Luck favoured Mumbai City FC for once at the Mumbai Football Arena as they notched their very first win on home soil this season. Yes, the Islanders created several chances especially in the first half and were dominant but they struggled to contain Hyderabad FC after the break.

Phil Brown’s side could have even won the tie as they were denied twice by the woodwork. Marcelinho looked a rejuvenated player in the second half while Nestor Gordillo too got involved in the thick of action. Bobo continued his good run of form and found the back of the net. However, the Brazilian would have every right to complain as the service given to him inside the box wasn’t laudable.

Both coaches would have had a common grouse. Their midfielders were subpar with misspasses being the order of the day. Mumbai missed the services of Paulo Machado, who has been ruled out for the season after twisting his ankle in Jamshedpur, and the suspended Rowllin Borges. Sourav Das, who earned his first start in the competition, and Raynier Fernandes, who has impressed but is fast developing a reputation for being injury prone, struggled to stamp their authority in the middle of the park.

On the other hand, Hyderabad’s biggest weakness, in the absence of Marko Stankovic, is their midfield as neither Rohit Kumar nor Shankar Sampingiraj nor Adil Khan are able to keep hold of the ball or even distribute it to their attacking players.

Hence, it was a game where the attacking players would often get the ball and make a dashing run towards the opposition box before a last ditch challenge or misspass would end the move.

Costa would be pleased that Modou Sougou, who was last season’s top scorer for the club, opened his account with a brace on Sunday. The Senegalese was in top form as he harassed the Hyderabad defence all evening alongside Diego Carlos, who easily skipped past Ashish Rai and Gurtej Singh at will.

The club are still struggling at the back as they only signed one foreign centre-back. After Hyderabad, Mumbai have the second worst defensive record with 17 goals. While they have made their way into the top four, leaking goals would come back to haunt them in the business end of the season.

For Hyderabad, they don’t have the mentality to see out games and in certain positions, especially in midfield, the sheer lack of quality is apparent. They are relying on the individual qualities of their attackers but more often than not, this plan hasn’t come to fruition.