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Mumbai host Bengaluru in battle of struggling titans as top four race heats up

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Both teams are in desperate need of a win after indifferent spells of form.

Mumbai City FC host Bengaluru FC in the 50th match of Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday. The Islanders are winless in their previous couple of fixtures and come off the back of a 1 – 0 loss at home against Kerala Blasters FC. They would look to brush aside all that and pick up three points against a wounded Bengaluru side.

The Blues crashed to a shock 2 – 0 loss to lowly Delhi Dynamos FC in their previous fixture, but a win would put them on top of the league table. They would miss out on the services of left-back Subhasish Bose who got a straight red against the Lions, but the league debutants would take heart from the 2 – 0 defeat they succumbed Mumbai to when the sides met in the reverse fixture this season.

Head-to Head

Mumbai City FC 0 – 1 Bengaluru FC

Everton Santos (Mumbai City FC)

The Brazilian has been a potent player in attack for Mumbai. His pace is difficult to keep up with for the opposition, and he also has an eye for picking out precise passes. A deadly finisher as well, the 31-year-old has netted twice this season and bagged four assists. Up against a formidable Bengaluru side, he will have to bring his A-game into the fixture.

Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)

The Blues’ skipper has led his team from the front and engineers most of the attacks. Possessing quick feet as well as being excellent with both his passing and finishing skills, the 33-year-old has always kept the opposition defence on their toes. Chhetri has bagged five goals and an assist this season and will be looking for more when his team visits Mumbai.


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Potentiial Starting Lineups

Mumbai City FC

Alexandre Guimaraes may opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation that would add versatility both in attack and defence.

Goalkeeper: Amrinder Singh

Defenders: Raju Gaikwad, Lucian Goian, Gerson Vieira, Sanju Pradhan

Midfielders: Everton Santos, Achille Emana, Sahil Tavora, Abinash Ruidas, Thiago Santos

Forward: Balwant Singh 

The Islanders’ head coach on how he assesses his team ahead of the clash: “In terms of the team performance and the team development, I continue to see the team growing. Sometimes this development and growing don’t match with some results. But we know of course that now, we have a situation to stand up again. So, we will do the best we can." 

Bengaluru FC

Albert Roca will probably go for a 4-1-4-1 formation, which relies heavily on their midfield and flanks for proper service to the striker.

Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Defenders: Harmanjot Khabra, Rahul Bheke, Juanan, Nishu Kumar

Midfielders: Dimas Delgado, Edu Garcia, Erik Paartalu, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh

Forward: Miku 

The Blues gaffer on bouncing back from last match's setback: “We have to keep working and try and get a good result if we want to be among the four teams who qualify for the semifinals. It’s not going to be easy as we know almost all the teams have chances of being there. So, for us, we have to react after that loss in Delhi. That is a challenge." 

Key Stats

  • Both teams have lost four games this season, and they have also both lost twice at home and twice away
  • The Blues are the only team to have not drawn a single match yet, this season
  • The teams played their first match of the season against each other 

Previous Encounter

Bengaluru FC 2 – 0 Mumbai City FC (19th November 2017 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru) 

Form Guide (Last five matches)

Bengaluru FC: L W W L L

Mumbai City FC: L D W W L

 

Published: Wed Jan 17, 2018 09:42 PM IST

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