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AFC Champions League

Nassaji Mazandaran vs Mumbai City: Three key battles to decide AFC Champions League tie

Published at :November 27, 2023 at 8:45 PM
Modified at :November 29, 2023 at 10:21 AM
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Atawaris Warsi


Mumbai City is set to face Nassaji Mazandaran with an all Indian line-up.

Mumbai City FC's journey in the AFC Champions League 2023-24 has been marred by challenges, sitting at the bottom of the standings with four consecutive losses. The team's struggle is further compounded as they head to face an Iranian adversary without the presence of any foreign players. 

The absence of key contributors like Greg Stewart and Yoell Van Nieff poses a formidable test for the Islanders. Positioned at the last spot in the standings, Mumbai City FC faces an uphill battle, and fans await the domestic talents to showcase resilience in their upcoming fixture against an Iranian counterpart Nassaji Mazandaran in this challenging continental campaign.

Let’s take a look on the three key battles for this clash:

3. Lalengmawia Ralte vs Esmaeil Babaei

Apuia
Lalengmawia Ralte battling against Bengaluru FC (courtesy: ISL media)

Mumbai City FC's central midfielder has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving into a powerhouse for the team. Boasting exceptional attributes such as strategic positioning, creative prowess, attacking flair, and precision in tackles, he has become a linchpin in the Islanders' lineup. 

Meanwhile, Esmaeil, showcasing magnificent form, has secured consecutive starts for the Iranian team. His consistent presence underscores his impactful contributions, adding a layer of strength to the squad. 

2. Phurba Lachenpa vs Mohammad Reza Azadi

Mohammad Reza Azadi (courtesy: Player's Instagram)

Lachenpa's stellar form in the ISL for the Islanders contrasts with a challenging run in the AFC Champions League, conceding 13 goals in four matches. Despite an exceptional performance against Al Hilal at the DY Patil Stadium, the upcoming clash against Nassaji poses a different challenge, especially facing Mohammad Reza Azadi. 

The clinical Iranian striker previously found the net against Phurba in their initial encounter at the Balewadi Stadium two months ago. As Lachenpa braces for a formidable task away from home, the duel against Azadi adds an intriguing narrative, highlighting the unpredictable nature of football on the continental stage.

1. Rahul Bheke vs Hossein Zamehran

Rahul Bheke captaining Mumbai City FC vs Punjab FC (courtesy: ISL media)

Mumbai City FC's captain, Rahul Bheke, faces a formidable challenge in the upcoming clash against Nassaji Mazandaran, having already suffered a defeat at home to the Iranian side. Tasked with a daunting rematch, Bheke shoulders the responsibility to lead his team to redemption. 

The Iranian No. 10, in stellar form, poses a significant threat, aiming to test Bheke's defensive prowess. Tuesday's match promises an intense battle, with the skipper's strategic acumen pitted against the relentless skills of Nassaji's key player. As the football drama unfolds, Bheke's leadership and defensive resilience become crucial elements for Mumbai City FC's quest for victory.

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