Match 42 Preview: NorthEast United FC expecting to stage unlikely win over Mumbai City FC

NorthEast United FC will be up against Mumbai City FC in their Hero Indian Super League match, at the PJN Stadium, in Fatorda, on Monday evening.

The Highlanders would be eager to get back to winning ways after a disappointing 2-3 loss to ATK Mohun Bagan in the previous game. Meanwhile, Mumbai City FC, after suffering an unprecedented loss to Kerala Blasters FC in the previous game, would also be looking forward to making amends in the upcoming game.

Form Guide

NorthEast United FC

The Islanders have won two and lost three of their five matches in the ongoing season. Despite the slow start to their campaign, two wins along the way helped them gather some momentum, but, a loss to ATK Mohun Bagan in the previous game meant that they have their back against the wall for the time being, in the context of a top four finish.

Mumbai City FC

The Islanders have won four and lost one of their last five matches this season, but are still firmly at the top spot in the points table. Following the loss to Hyderabad FC in their second game, the Des Buckingham led side have hardly set a foot wrong, before a shocking 0-3 loss to Kerala Blasters FC in the previous game.

Head to Head

Two of the teams which have been a part of the ISL since its inception in 2014, they have played 14 matches amongst them so far. The Islanders lead the record with seven wins to their name, while NorthEast United FC claimed top honours in five of those occasions. The remaining two matches have ended in a draw.

Team News

NorthEast United FC

The Highlanders will miss out the services of their midfield general Khassa Camara in the upcoming game, which is a big blow as far as the importance of the game is concerned.

Mumbai City FC

Good news for the Mumbai City FC camp, as Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, who was injured just after playing 17 minutes of their season opener, is now available for selection.

Key Players

NorthEast United FC

Hernan Santana

Despite keeping just two clean sheets,  the Spanish defender has been a talismanic figure in the heart of the defence. Already a known face in the circuit, having steered Mumbai City FC to their maiden ISL last year, Santana is growing in stature as days are progressing. Following a heavy loss, the star-studded Mumbai City FC forward line would go all out in the upcoming game, and no one better than the experienced stopper can combat the lethal attacks.

Suhair VP

Arguably one of the most improved Indian players in recent years and the threat which he’s been posing to the opposition just accelerates his growth. With three goals and an assist to his name so far, Suhair bamboozles the defence with witty runs, which keeps the final third always on the hunt for a goal. With his team needing a win more than anything at present, the footballer will share the responsibility to create openings against Mumbai City FC.

Mumbai City FC

Ahmed Jahouh

The midfield general for Mumbai City FC was already a superstar in the ISL, but he’s taken the game to a different level in the 2021-22 season. The Moroccan footballer has provided five assists - the most by any player this season, apart from netting once. In the seven matches he featured this season, Jahouh has completed 501 passes - also the highest by any player, at an rate of 71.57 per game. Jahouh will play a key role in keeping their shape against the Highlanders and re-infuse their confidence after the loss.

Bipin Singh

Not a player who keeps a lot of possession, but he creates a huge impact with his runs down the wings. Compared to last season, where he was instrumental in their ISL title win, Singh is yet to unleash his full potential this time around for the Islanders. But, given that he’s scored twice and also assisted once, we might expect him to deliver in the future matches, especially with the rich resources which he has on support in the attacking line.

Key Stats

Recent head to head record: Despite enjoying success in the ISL recently, Mumbai City FC have just defeated the Highlanders just one, having lost three and shared the spoils in the remaining one of the last five matches. NorthEast United FC were one of the two sides, alongside Jamshedpur FC to remain unbeaten against Mumbai City FC in their title winning campaign.

Rahul Bheke’s milestone: The defender will make his 100th ISL appearance in the ISL, when he takes the field against NorthEast United FC, making him the eighth player to achieve the feat. Bheke has scored six times so far, making him the joint highest by an Indian defender and is also the only Indian defender to score in an ISL final.

Goals from open play: Out of the 16 goals conceded by NorthEast United FC, 14 have been from set-pieces, which accounts to 87.5% of the total goals, which is the most by any team so far. On the flip side, Mumbai City FC have scored 8 out of their 17 goals from open play, only ATK Mohun Bagan (10) and Kerala Blasters FC (10) have scored more.

Match timings and telecast details

Match: NorthEast United FC vs Mumbai City FC

Date: 27th December

Venue: PJN Stadium, Fatorda

Kick-off time: 7.30 pm

Telecast: Star Sports 3, Star Sports regional channels - Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu

Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.

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