The Marina Machans are yet to register a single win in the league this season.
Chennaiyin FC are enduring their worst run of form and coach John Gregory would hope that his side can finally register three points on Saturday in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2018 when they host Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Chennai
With a point to show for their efforts from five games, the onus is on the home side to ensure that they put in a strong performance in order to get their campaign up and running.
Sabir Pasha (Chennaiyin FC)
Assistant coach Sabir Pasha, stepping in for Gregory who has been unwell for some time, warned critics against writing his team off, citing their title-winning campaign in 2015 when the Marina Machans were bottom of the table before mounting a strong run to reach the play-offs under Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi.
“We want to repeat our feats from last season but unfortunately it is not happening so far. During Marco’s season (2015) we were bottom and then changed our season around and won the title. You cannot write us off. Especially, since we are the champions. We are confident we will come back,” he said.
In their last home game against NorthEast United, Chennaiyin were outscored despite leading 3-1. It isn’t just poor defending but their form in front of goal has also cost them dear. Chennaiyin FC have created chances in each game but have failed to convert.
“Everybody sees the results. Mumbai City are also like us. In their game against Goa, they showed they are very dangerous like how we did against ATK. In the first 45 minutes, they were brilliant and fashioned a lot of opportunities. Against ATK, the result was a 2-1 loss for us but the game played out differently. We had a lot of chances to score,” Pasha said.
Should Chennaiyin FC miss out on three points on Saturday, the gap between them and the teams occupying the top four positions would only widen.
Jorge Costa (Mumbai City FC)
Mumbai City, meanwhile, responded in style after their 5-0 mauling in Goa by downing Delhi Dynamos 2-0.
However, coach Jorge Costa will want to see some consistency from his team and build on the encouraging result.
“In the Goa game, we had a very good first half. We had six-to-eight clear chances to score. I was not happy with the last 20-25 minutes though. But after that, we had a very good game,” Costa said.
“Now, I want to give some consistency to the team and get results. At the moment, in the league a lot of clubs are separated by only one or two points. We need to try to separate ourselves from that with a win.”
Chennaiyin FC are not foreign to late revival as was witnessed in the 2015 edition and a win against Mumbai could propel them further up the table. Mumbai needs to find consistency in their play as their performance graph resembles a roller-coaster ride.
Apart from the injury of Dhanpal Ganesh, the Marina Machans are all fit for the game against Mumbai City on Saturday.
Mumbai City FC
For the Islanders, Raphael Bastos and Amrinder Singh are doubtful. Defender Anwar Ali has recovered and is in contention to make the squad against Chennaiyin. Young defender Davinder Singh is out for the season.
Chennaiyin FC- Karanjit (GK), Calderon, Sabia, Lalrinzuala, Fernandes, Thapa, Nelson, Thoi, Augusto, Issac, Carlos.
Mumbai City FC- Ravi (GK), Lourenco, Goian, Bose, Chakrabarti, Issoko, Sehnaj, Milan, Machado, Sougou, Bhumij.
Did You Know
Chennaiyin have won a massive five times against Mumbai City FC in the ISL. They have only lost/draw in three times.
The defending champions, Chennaiyin are yet to register their first win in the season.
Both the sides have scored the same numbers of goals (5) in the ISL this season.
The match will take place on Saturday at 7:30 PM at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. On television, the match will be live on Star Sports. Meanwhile, it will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.