Match 18 Preview: Mumbai City FC target first-ever win over Odisha FC

Mumbai City FC will be looking to register their third successive victory in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they take on Odisha FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Sunday. After a loss in their season opener against NorthEast United FC, the Islanders have come into their own in the past two games and took a maximum of six points from them.

Their last game against SC East Bengal saw the Islanders play some beautiful football as Sergio Lobera’s men beat the Kolkata club in a convincing manner. They will back themselves to produce a similar showing when they face Odisha – a side that beat them twice last season.

Lobera’s men, though, will head into Sunday’s first clash expecting to win after a confidence-boosting display last time around. Striker Adam le Fondre will once again pose a big threat to the opposition defence as the Englishman looks to add to his three goals for Mumbai this season. He linked up brilliantly with Hugo Boumous in the last game and will be hoping for more of the same.

Boumous was involved in all three of Mumbai’s goal against SC East Bengal and is the Islanders’ key man as far as carving open opposition defences is concerned. He became the leading assist-maker in Hero ISL history in Mumbai’s last game and will want to add to that tally against Odisha. Boumous along with Ahmed Jahouh and Rowllin Borges provide the perfect balance to the team’s midfield. Jahouh and Borges demonstrated their attacking capabilities in the last game and are capable of contributing on both ends of the pitch.

Mumbai also looked more solid defensively in their last outing with the centre-back pairing of Mourtada Fall and Hernan Santana, who was the scorer of the Islanders’ third goal against SC East Bengal. After the last game, Lobera spoke of how Fall and Santana’s partnership helps them play out of the back more comfortably and the experienced foreign duo are likely to remain the club’s first-choice pairing at the back, while Mohamad Rakip and Mandar Rao Dessai seem to have made the fullback slots their own.

"Odisha have a very good team. We need to work very well in both attack and defence. We need to stick to our style and improve our play. It is not easy playing against a team like Odisha. They have an experienced coach as well. We will try to stick to our play. We play attacking football. We had two clean sheets. That is very important. We need to score goals. That is our philosophy,” said Lobera in the pre-match press conference.

Odisha, meanwhile, will be looking to move on from their last-minute heartbreak against ATK Mohun Bagan in their previous match. They will want to put the loss against ATK Mohun Bagan behind them and produce a similar showing to that of their last match even though they lost the game with virtually the last kick of the ball.

The Bhubaneswar-based side can take heart from the way they played against ATK Mohun Bagan. Steven Taylor and Jacob Tratt did a good job defensively and must be at their best against Mumbai’s talented attackers. Cole Alexander has done a good job in shielding the defence but their midfielders need to do more going forward. Nandhakumar Sekar has had a quiet season so far and will be eager to have better games for his club as the season wears on.

However, their talisman Marcelo Pereira needs to start firing having failed to score or assist so far. He created two chances in Odisha’s last game and will be hoping to rediscover his best form soon. Forwards Manuel Onwu and Diego Mauricio, who is their top-scorer with two goals, will also have to make their presence felt if Odisha are to emerge with something from the contest.   

"The final third is about finishing and combination plays and we have been working on this. Our possession has not been the best of quality. We don't get enough bodies inside the box for crosses or make runs around the box to move defenders for combination play. The possession needs to get better and we will get the number of players forward that we need. We will start translating them into goals," Odisha head coach Stuart Baxter said ahead of the game.

Squads:

Mumbai City FC

Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Nishit Shetty, Vikram Singh, Phurba Lachenpa

Defenders: Amey Ranawade, Valpuia, Mourtada Fall, Mehtab Singh, Mandar Rao Dessai, Tondonba Singh, Mohamad Rakip, Sarthak Golui

Midfielders: Ahmed Jahouh, Bidyananda Singh, Bipin Singh, Hernan Santana, Raynier Fernandes, Rowllin Borges, Sourav Das, Hugo Boumous, Cy Goddard, Asif Khan, Farukh Choudhary, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Vikram Partap Singh, Pranjal Bhumij

Forwards: Adam Le Fondre, Bartholomew Ogbeche

Odisha FC

Goalkeepers: Arshdeep Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Ravi Kumar, Ankit Bhuyan

Defenders: Steven Taylor, Saurabh Meher, Gaurav Bora, Kamalpreet Singh, Mohd Sajid Dhot, George D’Souza, Shubham Sarangi, Jacob, Hendry Antonay

Midfielders: Baoringdao Bodo, Cole Alexander, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, S Lalhrezuala, Nandhakumar Sekar, Paul Ramfangzauva, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Vinit Rai, Thoiba Singh

Forwards: Diego Mauricio, Manuel Onwu, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Laishram Singh, Marcelo Pereira

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 18: Mumbai City FC vs Odisha FC

Date: December 6 (Sunday)

Time: 5:00 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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