Bengaluru chase top spot while Mumbai look to arrest slump
Bengaluru FC will be aiming to take over the top spot in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table from FC Goa when they face off against Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday. Currently two points behind Goa, a win will help propel the Blues to the summit of the league table. Mumbai, on the other hand, will be looking to end their two-match losing streak with a victory at home against the reigning champions.
Having lost their last two matches, the Islanders have dropped out of the top four recently and will be looking for a home win to keep themselves in contention for a semifinal spot heading into the business end of the season. The Islanders, however, have struggled on their home turf with just four of their 16 points so far coming from home matches.
Jorge Costa's men have struggled to find their scoring boots of late, having been unable to score in both of their previous two fixtures and will be hoping to rectify that against Bengaluru. Paulo Machado's injury has been a big detriment to the side's creative impetus and fans will hope the likes of Amine Chermiti, Modou Sougou, Diego Carlos and Rowllin Borges can step up and compensate for the Portuguese ace's absence.
Defensively, too, the team has been underwhelming so far, letting in 21 goals. Only bottom-placed Hyderabad FC (31) have conceded more so far. With Bengaluru representing one of the toughest challenges in the league, the Islanders will need to buckle up in all areas if they aspire to get anything out of the game.
On the opposite spectrum to Mumbai as far as form is concerned, Bengaluru come into the match on the back of consecutive wins in their last two. Talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri has been in red hot form, having already scored 8 goals this season, including three in his last two, and will be eager to add to his tally on Friday. With the likes of Udanta Singh, Erik Paartalu, Ashique Kuruniyan and Raphael Augusto backing him up, Bengaluru have plenty of attacking threat in their squad to severely test a shaky Mumbai defence.
With the addition of striker Deshorn Dwayne Brown in the January transfer window, the reigning champions have only strengthened themselves even further and it will be interesting to see if head coach Carles Cuadrat opts to start with the Jamaican against Mumbai.
Defensively, Bengaluru have been the most potent side in the league, conceding just seven goals so far and accumulating as many clean sheets. The backline, led by Albert Serran and Juanan, has looked impenetrable in most matches and will be a tough wall to breach for the Islanders.
One thing which will be against Bengaluru, however, is their recent form against Mumbai. The Blues have been unable to beat the Islanders in any of their last three meetings, with Costa getting the better of Cuadrat twice. In fact, it was Mumbai who subjected Bengaluru to their first loss of the season in the reverse fixture back in December 2019.
Mumbai City FC: Amrinder Singh (GK), Pratik Chaudhari, Mato Grgic, Subhasish Bose, Sarthak Golui, Mohamed Larbi, Rowllin Borges, Raynier Fernandes, Diego Carlos, Amine Chermiti, Modou Sougou
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Rahul Bheke, Albert Serran, Juanan, Harmanjot Khabra, Nishu Kumar, Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado, Deshorn Brown, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh
Did you know?
- Mumbai have picked just four points from five home games this season.
- Mumbai have lost their last two in a row while Bengaluru have won their last two.
- Bengaluru have seven clean sheets this season – the most by any team.
Which goalkeeper will be able to keep a clean sheet?
- Amrinder Singh
- Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 61: Mumbai City FC vs Bengaluru FC
Date: January 17 (Friday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV