AFC Champions League preview: Mumbai City FC look to return to winning ways in Al Jazira rematch
Mumbai City FC who suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to Al Jazira Club in their last group match in the AFC Champions League group stage will get a quick chance at redemption when they take on the same opponents at the King Fahd International stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Monday.
The Islanders, who have lost two and won one of their first three matches find themselves at the bottom of Group B at the half-way point in the league phase. However, there is still all to play for for Des Buckingham’s side who are just a point behind second-placed Air Force Club who they beat earlier in the competition.
Mumbai City FC had the chances to draw the last match against Al Jazaira and the Hero ISL outfit will take plenty of positives from the second half performance in the last match that saw them put their UAE-based opponents under considerable pressure.
A win on Monday would lift Mumbai City FC in serious contention for a place in the next round, a feat which no other Indian club has ever achieved before.
The previous meeting between the two sides in the AFC Champions League was the only previous clash involving the two teams. Al Jazira won it 1-0 thanks to a Ali Mabkhout penalty.
Mumbai City FC
Rahul Bheke: The Indian defender has been one of the best players for Mumbai City FC in the AFC Champions League. Be it defensive duties or attacking contribution, Bheke has been at the forefront for the Islanders. Bheke scored the winner against Air Force Club and carried a threat from the full-back position in the last match. His long throw-ins could also be a potent weapon for Mumbai City FC in this competition.
Diego Mauricio: Mumbai City FC need to step up in terms of an attacking unit and a large onus for that falls on Diego Mauricio’s shoulders. The forward who has been the preferred choice to lead the line needs step up to the plate and cause opponent defences problems with his speed, physicality and movement. With the forward likely to get limited supply, he will have to be clinical in front of goal.
Ali Mabkhout: The veteran UAE striker was a constant menace in the Mumbai City FC box in the last match and eventually scored the winner from the penalty spot. Apart from being a seasoned goalscorer, Mabkhout is also capable of bringing other attacking players into play thus making him such a dangerous player for any opponent. Mumbai City FC will need to control him if they are to harbour dreams of beating Al Jazira.
Abdoulay Diaby: The midfielder is the powerhouse in centre of the pitch for Al Jazira and contributes offensively as well as defensively. Mumbai City FC will have to watch out for his late runs inside the box as he threatens to sneak into a scoring position time and again. Controlling Diaby could go a long way in helping Mumbai City FC win the midfield battle on Monday.
Match Timings and Telecast Details
Match: Mumbai City FC vs Al Jazira
Date: April 18, 2022
Venue: Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Kick-off time: 10:45 pm IST
Telecast: Star Sports 3
Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar