Both teams will be eager to hold on to their current positions on the ISL standings
Right now, the metropolis club are placed atop the points table with a three-point lead (33) over second-placed ATK Mohun Bagan (30). FC Goa are positioned third, but they are far behind the Kolkata-based club with only 22 points to their name. Nevertheless, the two teams will be eager to consolidate their current spots in the standings, considering that this could be the best possible result for either of them. Hence, the forthcoming match carries significant consequences.
Mumbai had maintained a commendable six-point lead over ATKMB ahead of their crushing defeat against NorthEast United. However, Antonio Habas’ men have since managed to close it to merely three points.
The Islanders will be determined to qualify for the AFC Champions League after a successful season so far. However, they have a very thin cushion and cannot afford any more slip ups. Another loss, or even a draw, will pave the path for ATKMB to catch up for the top spot. That is a situation best avoided for the Islanders, given the seamless consistency they have maintained until now. However, they have the likes of Goa, Bengaluru FC and Habas’ team to face in the coming five games. Sergio Lobera will do well to ensure that his team don’t let complacency creep in, least of all against the Gaurs.
On the other hand, FC Goa have already fallen short this time around, compared to the standards they set previously. Right now, the team might very possibly fail to retain their spot in the premier continental championship. However, given that the massive revamp they underwent, it’s probably praiseworthy that they are among the topmost contenders for the playoffs spots. Despite that, they are coming into this match on the back of four consecutive draws.
It can be argued that they have failed to kill off games, as Goa have scored first and then conceded their leads in their last three matches. Contrastingly, Mumbai are coming on the back of a well-fought comeback victory against Kerala Blasters. As of now, only four points separate third-placed FC Goa from seventh-placed Jamshedpur FC and the table can undergo multiple changes in the final quarter of the season. Juan Ferrando will be eager to return to winning ways to tackle this challenge.
FC Goa’s Brandon Fernandes is set to miss this match due to an ongoing injury. Meanwhile, Mumbai City do not have any fitness concerns or any suspensions for the next game.
Mumbai City FC and FC Goa have faced each other 15 times previously. Out of these, FC Goa have won seven times while Mumbai have had five victories. Three matches between the two sides have ended in draws.
The two teams had played out a gritty encounter early on this season in November, with Adam le Fondre’s spot-kick in injury-time securing the win and three points for Sergio Lobera against his former team.
Mumbai City FC: Amrinder (GK); Ranawade, Fall, Santana, Mandar; Jahouh, Borges; Jackichand, Boumous, Bipin; Ogbeche.
FC Goa: Dheeraj (GK); Seriton, Ivan, Donachie, Gama; Bedia, Princeton; Jesuraj Ortiz, Tlang; Angulo.
Man to Watch
Mourtada Fall (Mumbai City FC)
Mourtada Fall has been an impenetrable rock at the back for Mumbai City this season. The Senegalese has resumed from where he left off at Goa. The 33-year-old has recorded 2.35 tackles, 7.07 clearances and 47.36 passes per game in the 14 matches that he has played this season. He has been a constant threat from set-pieces, having netted twice in the campaign too.
However, his value and significance have really come to the fore in encounters when the opposition has piled up attacks. With his help, Mumbai managed to hold on to their leads more often than not in such situations. FC Goa have a very dynamic frontline and play an exciting brand of football under Ferrando’s tutelage. It is obvious that they will consistently exert pressure on the Islanders’ defence. However, they will have to surpass the indomitable figure of Mourtada Fall to extract any success.
Edu Bedia (FC Goa)
Edu Bedia has recorded the most touches (1238) and most passes (1046) in the ongoing season of the ISL. The Spaniard is crucial to controlling the tempo of the game for the Gaurs. He recovers possession in the middle of the park and dictates proceedings for Ferrando’s men. Bedia is integral to the flow of the game, breaking passing lanes via his through-balls or aptly distributing the ball to the flanks. However, this time around, he will come up against former teammate Ahmed Jahouh.
The Moroccan midfielder has registered the most tackles (114) in the competition, which comes to a whopping 9.5 tackles per game. He is expert at breaking the opposition’s forward moves and transitioning them into attacks for Mumbai. However, Jahouh is susceptible to committing unnecessary fouls too and Bedia will look to rile up his adversary on that front. All in all, we are awaiting a cracker of a duel between two top-class central midfielders.
Did You Know?
- FC Goa talisman Jorge Ortiz Mendoza has taken the most shots on target (28) amongst all players this season.
- Both Sergio Lobera and Juan Ferrando have had coaching stints with Spanish fourth-tier club Terrassa FC between 2008-2011.
- Mumbai have scored 13 of their 22 goals from set-pieces this season.
The match between Mumbai City FC and FC Goa is set to be telecast live on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & 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.