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Indian Super League

Mumbai City: Not great, not too bad

05:28 GMT 02/03/2020
Modou Sougou Mumbai City
Mumbai City finished fifth on the table, three points below Chennaiyin FC...

It was a case of 'almost' for Mumbai City in the Indian Super League (ISL) this season. There were ups and downs for Jorge Costa's team but in the end, they fell short of the final playoff spot by three points.

Looking back, midway through the season, the Islanders had registered a record statistic as they had 12 players on the scoresheet who had scored the team's total of 15 goals. It looked good back then but at the end of the season, none of Mumbai City's attackers has recorded a double-digit tally of goals. 

Modou Sougou was Costa's trump card upfront last season. He had scored 12 goals (only Golden Boot winner Ferran Corominas had scored more in the league) and led the line brilliantly for Mumbai City. However, fitness issues meant Sougou missed out on crucial game time and he could only muster three goals in 14 appearances this season.

When Sougou recovered and featured for the first team, he was shifted out onto the right flank. He made way for the new striker Amine Chermiti who struggled to remain consistent throughout the season. He only managed six goals in 16 appearances. Costa needed more from his attackers. 

The biggest blow for the Islanders was the loss of Paulo Machado who was ruled out for the season due to an injury in December. He was the one who dictated the game for the Islanders and was the best source for creativity from the midfield. With Machado out, the club needed a midfield replacement which never came and as a result, the team craved for a creative spark. Though Rowllin Borges was excellent in midfield, the likes of Sourav Das, Bidyananda Singh and Raynier Fernandes could not offer what Machado gave the team.

Four of Mumbai City's seven foreign players were attackers. None of those players was able to become standout performers. Among Indian players, only ones who shone throughout the season was Rowllin who was solid and Amrinder Singh who delivered more than few game-saving displays in between the sticks. 

Though Pratik Choudhari had a decent season as a centre-back, Mumbai could be faulted for not having a second foreigner in defence. Even Mato Grgic was injured for a while and Costa had to play an all-Indian backline for a few games.

The fact that their full-backs were woeful throughout the season did not help matters. Subhasish Bose had a dismal campaign as well.

However, the criminal error was not finding a replacement for Machado and at the end of the season, that made all the difference.

With City Football Group's takeover of Mumbai City complete, fans can expect wholesale changes to the squad. They will be hopeful of taking the next step after missing out on a playoff spot in the 2019-20 season.