The hosts have suffered two defeats on the bounce..
NorthEast United host Mumbai City FC in a crucial Indian Super League match at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday.
Both teams come into the game in a contrasting run of form. The hosts have suffered two consecutive home defeats against Chennaiyin FC and Atletico de Kolkata. Mumbai though have foye points from their last two away trips and can go back to the top of the table with a win tomorrow.
However, the weather in Guwahati is a concern ahead of the game. Tropical storm Nada is brewing in the Bay of Bengal. In such a situation Assam may expect showery weather late Friday night and throughout Saturday afternoon, which may spoil the party.
Subrata Paul, Nicolas Valez, Romaric and Mailson Alves are still not match fit making things tough for manager Nelo Vingada, who may have to drop a foreign player from his regular squad to make way for Wellington Lima, in case Paul cannot play. In those circumstances, the door could be open for Fanai Lalrempuia or Jerry Mawihmingthanga to come in in place of Robert Cullen.
Mumbai have a slew of injuries, and absentees including the Bengaluru FC pair of Amriinder Singh and Sunil Chhetri who continue to be on AFC Cup duty with Bengaluru FC. However, the team seems to be coping well even with all the missing personal and manager Alexandre Guimaraes is unlikely to tinker with the combination that earned a vital point in Chennai in the last match.
Head to Head
Before losing the away game against the Mumbai City FC earlier in the season through a Diego Forlan penalty, NorthEast had faced MCFC four times in the ISL and have beaten them twice. The Highlanders won 2-0 in Mumbai in ISL 1 and 2-0 in Guwahati in ISL 2. Mumbai’s only win against NEUFC prior to the last match came last season in Mumbai when a Sunil Chhetri hat-trick helped them to a 5-1 victory. The only draw between these two teams came in the first season with the game in Guwahati ending 1-1.
Man to Watch
NorthEast United FC-Emiliano Alfaro: The prolific Uruguayan has been one of the key players in the Highlanders team this season with his clinical finishing giving them the cutting edge in front of goal. He had a frustrating outing against Chennaiyin FC failing to score but found his rhythm back in the last game against ATK last week. The striker will have to be in his scoring boots if his team is to triumph against the Mumbaikars.
Diego Forlan-Mumbai City FC: When a player like Forlan is in a team, there is no doubt about that he will be the point of focus His iconic stature in the subcontinent and capacity to turn around a game for any team that he plays for has made him a legend all over the world. In his 5 appearances so far in ISL 3 for the Ranbeer Kapoor owned Mumbai City FC, he has scored two goals but his presence in the team is enough to focus ther opponents’ attention towards him and it will be no different in this game.
NorthEast United :Lima, Zokora, Lazzaretti, Robin, Nirmal, Borges, Yusa, Fanai, Priori, Narzary, Alfaro
Mumbai City FC: Gomes, Khongjee, Viera, Ali, Goian, Ralte, Forlan, Norde, Vadocz, Alves, Singh
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 2, Start Sports HD 2, Star Sports 1, Start Sports HD1, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD and HOTSTAR.
You can also follow live text commentary of the game on khelnow.com.
Photo © ISL Media
Preview by Himangshu Rajkhowa- Khel Now Correspondent from Guwahati.