Both teams have had contrasting results so far in the ongoing season.

Bengaluru FC will face their biggest challenge yet of their Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 campaign when they take on defending champions Mumbai City. While the Blues have had somewhat of a bumpy ride so far – with a win, loss and a draw, Des Buckingham’s men currently rank top of the table with two wins and a loss.

Also, another aspect to note is the Islanders’ most recent game was against ATK Mohun Bagan – where they hammered the Mariners 5-1. With this, they have a total of nine goals in three games and will be seeking to continue this red-hot form against the Blues on Saturday. On the other hand, Marco Pezzaiuoli will be looking to regroup after his mixed bag of results. Either way, it should be an interesting fixture.

The stakes

A win for Bengaluru FC would be a major confidence boost considering their campaign so far. Meanwhile, a win for the Islanders would reinstate hope to defend their title – especially after their opening day defeat against Hyderabad FC.

The Blues started their season with a dominant win against NorthEast United. However, they lost their second game against Odisha FC. Following the loss, they drew against league rivals Kerala Blasters after Ashique Kuruniyan netted goals at both ends. Regardless, their campaign still remains challenging, especially considering the nature of the goals conceded in their last two games. This is further reinforced by their head coach who’s spoken of individual blunders as reasons for such inconsistencies.

On the other hand, while there were speculations of Mumbai City being unable to hit top gear after the Hyderabad FC loss, they simply proved otherwise – against Antonio Habas’ ATK Mohun Bagan on Wednesday. To put it bluntly, they were outstanding in all aspects — goal-scoring, build-up play and ball control, they outsmarted the Mariners straightaway.

As a result, both teams have their own agendas. That is, another win for Des Buckingham’s Mumbai City, and steadying the ship for Marco Pezzaiuoli.

Team news

For Bengaluru FC, there are no fresh updates apart from Leon Augustine who was already ruled out from the game against Odisha FC. Jayesh Rane, who was left out of the matchday squad against Kerala Blasters, has returned to training.

Mumbai City have a fully-fit squad to choose from, barring Vignesh Dakshinamurthy who is a long-term absentee following his injury in their campaign opener.

Head-to-head

The two sides have faced each other eight times in their history. Mumbai City have won four, while Bengaluru have emerged victorious in three. In their last six meetings, the Blues have just won once – their most recent clash in the previous season.

Probable lineups

Bengaluru FC (4-3-3): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Ashique Kuruniyan, Yrondu Musavu-King, Alan Costa, Naorem Roshan Singh, Suresh Wangjam, Bruno Ramires, Jayesh Rane, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Cleiton Silva

Mumbai City FC (4-2-3-1): Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Amey Ranawade, Rahul Bheke, Mourtada Fall, Mandar Rao Dessai, Lalengmawia, Ahmed Jahouh, Cassinho, Vikram Pratap Singh, Bipin Singh, Igor Angulo.

Man to watch

Cleiton Silva (Bengaluru FC)

Though the Brazilian hasn’t scored in the last two games, he remains the biggest attacking threat for the Blues. Without his presence, they lacked creativity in the attack – which is why he was restored to the starting XI against Kerala Blasters.

His pace and run-ins inside the box caused many problems for the Yellow Army’s defence. He also had multiple half chances that night. He also has an xG (Expected goals) rate of 1.17; the highest for his side.

Igor Angulo (Mumbai City FC)

Angulo is the joint-top scorer currently with Odisha FC’s Aridai Cabrera and Javier Hernandez (three goals each). In the first game against FC Goa, his active blindside running and combination play with Cassinho and Raynier Fernandes paid off for the Islanders.

Against ATK Mohun Bagan, he was the main man being marked during Vikram Pratap Singh’s first goal leading to a clear through ball to set up the goal. With an excellent conversion rate from inside the box, he will be troublesome for Bengaluru FC’s defence. Errors thereby could either lead to himself capitalising or others taking advantage of not being marked properly.

Did you know?

  • Mumbai City FC are joint-top scorers (9 goals) with Odisha FC this season.
  • With an expected goals number (xG) of 5.4, they are also the table toppers in this statistic.
  • Bengaluru FC rank the highest in terms of average possession with 66.7%.

Telecast

The match will be played at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on December 4 at 9:30 pm IST. It will be shown on Star Sports 2 & Star Sports 2 HD and will also be available for live streaming on Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.

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