Goalfest expected as Mumbai City FC and Odisha FC look to settle head-to-head record

Mumbai City FC will welcome the West Coast Brigade back to the stands as they host Odisha FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Saturday. The Islanders return from Pune after grabbing a point against defending champions Hyderabad FC in their last game. On the other hand, OFC’s morale will also be high as they come into this fixture following a stellar comeback win over the 2021-22 Hero ISL League winners Jamshedpur FC.

During their last outing, Mumbai City FC attempted a total of 14 shots, out of which 6 were on target. The frontline seemed eager to find space in the final third but failed to dodge the offside trap. The Islanders were caught offside on six occasions while HFC saw the flag raised against them just once.

Last season, Greg Stewart became only the second player in Hero ISL history to reach double figures for both goals and assists in the same edition of the Hero ISL after Hugo Boumous in 2019-20. The former Jamshedpur FC attacker got off to a perfect start for his new club Mumbai City FC after pocketing a goal and an assist on his debut.

Stewart’s goal was set up by substitute Ahmed Jahouh. After registering that assist, Jahouh became only the second player to reach 20 assists in Hero ISL history. The Moroccan midfielder is expected to start the game against the Juggernauts, giving Mumbai City FC a creative and solid presence in the middle third.

“This year we have the luxury and benefit of a wonderful midfield. That’s been done purposefully. We went out in the off-season and recruited players who not only can play the way we want to play but would allow us to play in different ways”, said Head Coach Des Buckingham. “We know how tight games can be against different teams in this league and to have different ways to approach these games, either at the start or throughout the game, it’s going to be very important”, he added.

Last season, Odisha FC scored 31 goals. Out of those, 24 were scored from open play. They are following the same pattern coming into the new season as none of their goals against JFC involved a set piece. Since the start of last season, Odisha FC have scored 12 goals in the last 15 minutes of games, more than any other team so far.

Diego Mauricio enjoyed a fairytale return to the club after bagging a brace against JFC. The Brazilian striker will surely be looking forward to scoring against his former club. Isak Vanlalruatfela and Isaac Chhakchhuak changed the entire complexion of the game after coming on as substitutes in the last match. The duo could be in line for a start against the Islanders.

“We started well in Jamshedpur by winning our first game, but it’s just the start of the season and every single game is important. We came here knowing that we are facing a very good side in Mumbai City FC”, said head coach Josep Gombau.

The two sides have faced each other on six occasions in the Hero ISL. None of the entertaining encounters have ended in a draw as both sides have registered three wins each. An aggregate of 28 goals has been scored in these six matches with the Islanders scoring 16 and the Juggernauts scoring 12. Furthermore, Odisha FC have played at the Mumbai Football Arena on just one occasion during the Hero ISL 2019-20 season. The Juggernauts won that match 4-2.

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