AFC Champions League: Mumbai City FC aim to get first points on the board against Al Hilal
Al Hilal have an array of stars at their disposal but will be without their biggest name Neymar for the game.
Mumbai City FC will look to get their first points on the board in the AFC Champions League 2023-24 season against a very tough Al Hilal SFC side in their third group stage match at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Monday.
The Islanders have had a rough start to the AFC Champions League 2023-24 season with 2-0 and 3-0 defeats against FC Nassaji Mazandaran and PFC Navbahor Namangan respectively in their opening games.
Now, they face a difficult test against an in-form Al Hilal SFC side who have plenty of quality at their disposal. Neymar, the biggest name in their squad will miss the game due to an ACL injury he sustained with Brazil on international duty but the side still boasts names like Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ruben Neves, Kalidou Koulibaly and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
The four-time Asian champions are top in both the Saudi Pro League and their AFC Champions League group. They won their last ACL group game against FC Nassaji Mazandaran by a 3-0 scoreline and drew against PFC Navbahor Namangan with a 1-1 scoreline in their first game.
𝗦𝗛𝗢𝗪𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗘 𝗜𝗡 𝗥𝗜𝗬𝗔𝗗𝗛! 🇸🇦— Mumbai City FC (@MumbaiCityFC) October 23, 2023
A historic evening awaits against Asia's finest as #TheIslanders take on Al Hilal SFC 💪
Tonight, we fight for our City.. let's go, मुंबई! 🖤#HILvMUM #IslandersInAsia #AamchiCity 🔵 pic.twitter.com/TA7T98RSUr
Mumbai City FC have been in good form in the Indian Super League (ISL) with two wins and a draw in three matches. They have delivered good performances in all three games. They will aim to continue their momentum on Monday against Al Hilal SFC.
However, their task will be increasingly difficult because of the strong form of Al Hilal SFC and the overall squad strength that the Saudi team possess. Al Hilal SFC are coming into this match on the back of a 1-0 win against Al Khaleej in the Saudi Pro League.
The King Fahd International Stadium though will bring back good memories for the Islanders who picked up their first-ever win in the AFC Champions League at this venue when they got the better of Iraq's Air Force Club, becoming the first Indian club to win a match in this competition.
An iconic goal and some beautiful memories at the King Fahd International Stadium, Rahul Bheke can’t wait to get back on the same pitch once again tonight #HILvMUM #IslandersInAsia #AamchiCity 🔵 pic.twitter.com/XoX6c3H59R— Mumbai City FC (@MumbaiCityFC) October 23, 2023
However, it will be a different ball game facing the home side on the same patch but Mumbai City FC would be keen to make a mark in this season's competition.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham shared his thoughts on the upcoming game against Al Hilal SFC.
He said, "It is a game that we are very much looking forward to. We are excited to come to the home of the most successful club in Asia. They are a team that is admired around Asia for what they have done, how successful they have been and the style of football and types of players that are attracted not just to this club but also to the Saudi Pro League."
"We are excited to be here, to test and challenge ourselves against one of Asia's best and we are all very much looking forward to the game," he added.
The game will kick off at 11:30 PM IST and will be shown LIVE on Sports18. Live streaming of the game will be available on FanCode and Jio TV.