The Mumbaikars seek to break hoodoo against dominant Machans…
Chennaiyin FC take on second-placed Mumbai City at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday night as they hope to keep up their consistency in the Indian Super League having earned nine points in six outings so far.
The Super Machans have averaged 1.5 points per game this season, a record bettered only by table toppers Atletico de Kolkata. However, Wednesday’s opponents MCFC are also at 1.5 points, and the result may a long way towards deciding if the involved teams make the play-offs.
Chennaiyin are coming off a goalless draw at home with southern rivals Kerala Blasters, but they shall be confident heading into the game having not lost since their 3-1 home defeat to Delhi Dynamos. Thanks to Marco Materazzi’s stern stewardship, they seem equipped to continue their unbeaten run.
City, on the contrary, are on a bad run of form having won just a single game in four recent outings; they were even kind enough to hand bottom club FC Goa their only win of the campaign when they met at Mumbai Football Arena on 21 October. However, they will hope to ensure they build on their recent 1-0 win against league leaders Atletico de Kolkata.
After making wholesale changes to the squad on the back of the Dynamos game, the Chennaiyin gaffer has now decided against disrupting the harmony in his starting line-up, with fan favourites such as Jeje Lalpekhlua and Nallapan Mohanraj demoted to the second string. However, having seen his personnel play a toiling 90 minutes only three days earlier, he may make a few changes to the line-up. Hans Mulder, who limped off the pitch in the first half on Saturday night, remains the only doubt.
As for City, Pronay Halder is on the sidelines. In addition, Amrinder Singh and Sunil Chhetri are still away with their Bengaluru FC commitments. As they vanquished the then-undefeated Kolkata in their most recent fixture, Alexandre Guimaraes will likely not make many changes to the starting line-up.
Head to Head
Chennaiyin have a perfect record against City having claimed their scalp every time the teams have met. Scoring 13 goals in four outings, they have averaged 3.3 goals per game, compared with City’s measly 0.3. However, history hardly matters in the highly unpredictable ISL and City may well fancy registering their first win against the Blues.
Man to Watch
Maurizio Peluso-Chennaiyin FC: Despite currently being on the periphery of Materazzi’s plans, Maurizio Peluso seems to boast the ammunition to warrant a place in the starting line-up. Against Blasters, he injected drive and energy into Chennaiyin’s play upon coming off the bench after the attack had looked stale with Davide Succi and Dudu Omagbemi upfront. Should he start, he can be a major goal threat.
Diego Forlan-Mumbai City FC: Diego Forlan was adjudged unfit to play after suffering an injury in mid-October, but the 2010 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball winner returned swiftly and proved a prized asset, scoring the only goal in their recent 1-0 victory over Kolkata. Against a resolute Chennaiyin defense that looks solid after Eli Sabia Filho’s breakthrough, he shall have to be at his best to have a sniff of goal.
Chennaiyin: Kerr, Wadoo, Eli Sabia, Mendy, Lalrinzuala, Hanghal, Augusto, Sahni, Peluso, Succi, Lalpekhlua
Mumbai City FC: Gomes, Khongjee, Vieira, Ali, Goian, Ralte, Forlán, Norde, Vadócz, Brito Alves, Singh
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD, and Hotstar.
You can also follow Khel Now’s live text commentary of the game, with our ISL correspondent Praveen R. Paramasivam reporting things as they happen from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Photo © ISL Media
Preview by Khel Now Correspondent from Chennai Praveen Paramasivan.