The Islanders look to build on the momentum after their first win last week.

Mumbai City FC will come up against SC East Bengal in their next match in the Indian Super League (ISL). Adam le Fondre converted a spot-kick in injury-time, as the Islanders secured three points against FC Goa in their last game. On the other hand, the Red and Gold suffered a 2-0 defeat against ATK Mohun Bagan in their inaugural match in the league.

In a closely-contested competition, it is crucial that the two teams to build momentum right from the onset. All sides barring Robbie Fowler’s men have completed at least two matches this season. East Bengal made a late entrance into the competition and have been understandably provided with additional time to get on with their preparations. 

The Stakes

Sergio Lobera will be edging to bag consecutive victories and add some steam to an underwhelming campaign so far. The metropolis club suffered a 1-0 defeat against NorthEast United initially. Despite facing a 10-man FC Goa team for more than an hour, it took Mumbai a spot-kick to finally bag the three points. The Spanish coach is visibly looking to implement his philosophy into the setup and it would take time to witness the results of the same. But, there are high expectations from the Islanders, owing to their massive investment in the transfer market. So, the team will have to get their act together without further hiccups.

On the other hand, East Bengal’s introduction to the league was highly-anticipated. The loss against arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan hasn’t put them in good stead for the competition ahead. Fowler has come to India with a big reputation and he will be expected to live up to them given the club that he is associated with.

ALSO READ: Sergio Lobera reveals his thoughts on new formation against East Bengal

Team News

Raynier Fernandes is likely to sit out of this game, whereas it remains to be seen whether Mohamad Rakip makes it to the starting lineup. The right-back had suffered a knock against the Highlanders and was brought on in the second half against the Gaurs. Otherwise, the team doesn’t seem to have other injury concerns, as Ahmed Jahouh will be back in the XI after serving his one-match suspension.

East Bengal had a fully fit squad in the game against ATK Mohun Bagan. This time around, Jeje Lalpekhlua’s possible selection in the playing XI will be closely followed. Similarly, CK Vineeth has had lesser time for preparation and hence he didn’t make it to the matchday squad in the first game. An update on the forward’s current status is awaited too.

Head-to-Head

The two teams have squared off only once before. The encounter was in the 2018 edition of the Super Cup and East Bengal had emerged victorious over Mumbai City FC by a slender 2-1 margin.

Probable Lineups

Mumbai City FC: Amrinder (GK); Rakip, Fall, Golui, Mandar; Jahouh, Borges; Goddard, Boumous, Farukh; Le Fondre

SC East Bengal: Debjit (GK); Neville, Fox, Gharami, Surchandra, Meitei, Steinmann, Das; Maghoma, Balwant, Pilkington.

ALSO READ: ISL 2020-21: Five things we learned from Gameweek 2

Man to Watch

Ahmed Jahouh (Mumbai City FC)

The Islanders looked to lack the creative acumen of Ahmed Jahouh in the middle of the park against FC Goa. The midfielder committed eight tackles, had 52 touches of the ball and made 40 passes with an accuracy of 75% in his 43-minute stay on the pitch against NorthEast United. Jahouh will be crucial to Mumbai’s success in the game for two key reasons.

Mourtada Fall isn’t back to optimum fitness yet and the Senegalese will require his teammate to cover for him in the defensive line. On the other hand, Hugo Boumous has looked out of sorts in the first two matches. Jahouh’s composure, ingenuity and ability to set the tempo of the game will hold immense significance for Mumbai’s attacking endeavours in the next match.

Jacques Maghoma (SC East Bengal)

Jacques Maghoma was one of the most efficient and industrious players for SC East Bengal in the last game. The Congolese recorded two shots, a solitary cross and 44 passes in his 90 minutes on the field. The former Birmingham City midfielder was tenacious defensively and hence registered three tackles and two interceptions too.

Maghoma will look to interlink with Anthony Pilkington and cause some trouble to Mumbai’s backline. The 33-year-old will primarily come up against Sarthak Golui, who looks like he will take some time to adapt to the left-sided centre-back position. Maghoma’s contribution in both defensive and offensive aspects of the game will be integral to Fowler’s team.

Did You Know?

  • The current SC East Bengal squad has a host of players like Surchandra Singh, Sehnaj Singh, Mohammed Rafique and Balwant Singh who had formerly represented Mumbai City FC in the last few years.
  • Amrinder Singh, Sehnaj Singh and Balwant Singh are the only players who had participated in the only contest between these two teams previously and are in contention for selection in Tuesday’s match too.
  • True to Lobera’s philosophy, Mumbai City FC have made the most passes in the league so far. The team have made 1023 passes in two games and are comfortably ahead of FC Goa (883), who are ranked second in this list.

Telecast

The match between Mumbai City FC and SC East Bengal is set to be telecast live on Star Sports 1 SD and HD, Star Sports 2 SD and HD (English), Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3 and several other regional languages. Live streaming of the match will be available on Hotstar and Jio TV.]

For more updates, follow Khel Now on Twitter, Instagram and join our community on Telegram.