The Islanders have finished the league phase on top of the table…

Mumbai City FC will end the league stage of Hero Indian Super League 2016 at the summit of table after their goalless draw against Delhi Dynamos FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday. The Mumbaikars have 23 points from their 14 games this season and will have to wait for the last game of the league stage between Kerala Blasters FC and NorthEast United FC to know who they will be facing in the semi-finals.

Speaking to the media at the post-match press conference, Mumbai head coach Alexandre Guimaraes opined that his team finishing top of the table indicates the stability within the Mumbai ranks this year. “Well, I think today we accomplished one of our goals. As we were playing the league we realised that not only do we have a good chance to qualify but we can also get the first spot and that is very important because it shows that we have been very stable during the season and our style of play allows us to be there. I am very proud of the players, my staff as they have done a fantastic job, as it is not easy to achieve this and we knew from day one that we have got to do very well and we played fantastic football and scored fantastic goals and we kept eight clean sheets, so I am very proud of the players,” Guimaraes said.

Mumbai saw more of the ball in the attacking third and looked closer to breaking the deadlock in comparison to Delhi. Commenting on his side’s failure to breach the visitors’ defence, Guimaraes said: “We repeated a good performance and their goalkeeper got an award today, so he did well and most of our shots were on target and what is important for us is that we are getting more and more confident in our home ground as we are getting closer to the semi-finals. We came back from Goa and we have done a good job here by not allowing the other teams to score, and now comes a phase that is crucial.”

Guimaraes chose to rest last season’s highest scorer for Mumbai, Sunil Chhetri. When asked if the hosts missed India’s all-time top-scorer on the pitch, the Costa Rican said: “Well, I do not want to take a chance with players who are not fully fit and I spoke to him and I told him he needs to continue his rehab to be fully fit and I removed Sehnaj [Singh] as he had a yellow card and we need all the players for the semi-finals.”

The 57-year-old also lauded the performances of Amrinder Singh, who is yet to concede this season and Udanta Singh, who made his Hero ISL bow against the Lions on Saturday. “I am very happy as he was one of the players from Bengaluru FC who did not have a chance to play and he came back from injury and he managed to play the full game… Regarding Amrinder, he is doing fantastic and he is showing a lot of character and he is well positioned always, and he talks a lot with his defence and he is helping us very much,” Guimaraes said.

Report and Photo Courtesy: ISL Media