Match 6 Preview: More than points at stake when Lobera’s Mumbai City face FC Goa

Match 6 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 will see FC Goa take on Mumbai City FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Wednesday. Familiar faces will face off in this west coast rivalry, with Mumbai head coach Sergio Lobera returning for a clash against his former club along with ex-Goa players Mandar Rao Dessai, Hugo Boumous and Mourtada Fall. Ahmed Jahouh’s red card in Mumbai’s previous match means the midfielder misses out on playing against his former club.

FC Goa have faced the Islanders on 14 occasions in the Hero ISL and have beaten them seven times, while Mumbai have managed only four wins against the Gaurs. Goa have scored 33 goals in games against Mumbai, while the Islanders have netted 14 times in those encounters. With plenty of former players returning to face their former team alongside ex-Goa head coach Lobera, there are plenty of intriguing subplots to look forward to in the encounter. However, Goa’s current head coach Juan Ferrando was eager to downplay the significance of the fixture.

“We need to be positive and competitive in every game and win the three points, be it Mumbai or any other opponent. Of course their coach is an ex coach of Goa and some [former] players of Goa are [now] in Mumbai, but our mentality will be the same: win the three points and be competitive,” Ferrando said at the pre-match media interaction.

The Gaurs began life under Ferrando with a 2-2 draw against Bengaluru FC in their opening Hero ISL game of the season. The Spaniard pulled the right strings from the bench and their new frontman Igor Angulo scored twice to become the first player since Ferran Corominas to net a brace in the first match of the season for their respective team. It will also be interesting to see whether Alexander Jesuraj, Alberto Noguera and Brandon Fernandes get their first starts of the season after making their presence felt as substitutes in the match against Bengaluru. Jesuraj and Noguera came off the bench to provide assists, while Brandon was involved in the build-up for both Goa goals.

Mumbai City FC, on the other hand, will have a point to prove after a surprise loss against NorthEast United FC in their season opener. Mumbai have won just one of their last five games against the Gaurs, but the Islanders will be optimistic about their chances of victory under the tutelage of head coach Lobera.

However, Lobera will know that his forward players must do better against the Gaurs after none of their nine shots were on target in the game with Bengaluru. They have enough attack-minded players in their squad to make that happen and Lobera will be hoping that the likes of Bartholomew Ogbeche, Adam le Fondre, Cy Goddard and Boumous discover their best form soon.

While discussing how he used le Fondre in their opening game of the season in the pre-match media interaction, Lobera said, “Adam has a lot of experience; he’s a very good player for us. I want to try to field the best starting XI and that [playing Adam from the right] was my option in the last game. But the most important and amazing thing for me is that I have some very good players.”

Fall might get his first start with the Islanders and he will be a welcome addition to the team given how Mumbai found it difficult to deal with set pieces in their last match. Fall is a towering presence during set pieces and he won the most aerial duels by a defender last campaign (33) besides also scoring five goals – a record for a defender in a season. With the suspension of Jahouh, it is likely that Hernan Santana will slot into the midfield while Fall will take the Spaniard’s place in defence.

After losing the first game, Lobera will demand a much-improved performance from his Mumbai team. Since both sides seem primed to play a similar style of football, the neutrals can expect an exciting and free-flowing contest with both teams competing on the front foot. Concentration and reducing the number of individual mistakes will be pivotal in deciding the outcome of the contest as both sides target their first win of the season.

Squad:

FC Goa

Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Shubham Dhas, Antonio D’Silva

Defenders: Sarineo Fernandes, Aiban Dohling, Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Leander D’Cunha, Mohamed Ali, Sanson Pereira, Saviour Gama, Seriton Fernandes

Midfielders: Alberto Noguera, Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Flan Gomes, Jorge Mendoza, Lenny Rodrigues, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, Redeem Tlang, Seiminlen Doungel

Forwards: Aaren D’Silva, Devendra Murgaonkar, Igor Angulo, Ishan Pandita, Makan Chothe

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

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 6: FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC

Date: November 25 (Wednesday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

 

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