Match 67 Preview: Table-toppers Mumbai City eye doing the double over SC East Bengal

After a draw in their last Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 game, Mumbai City FC will be eyeing maximum points when they take on SC East Bengal at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday. The table-topping Mumbai City side currently find themselves in a strong position and will want to build on their lead at the summit of the league.

Unbeaten in 10 games, Sergio Lobera’s men will be itching to return to the pitch and find the back of the net after failing to score in a goalless draw against Hyderabad FC in their last outing. The last time the Islanders met SC East Bengal in the league, the table-toppers beat the Kolkata club 3-0 in a convincing manner, and they will be hoping for a similar outcome on Friday.

Adam le Fondre scored twice for the Islanders during the win over SC East Bengal in their earlier clash this season and the Englishman will be eager to be on the scoresheet once again after a couple of quiet outings. He, along with Bartholomew Ogbeche and playmaker Hugo Boumous, will be the biggest threat going forward, while Ahmed Jahouh will be entrusted to dictate the tempo of the match for his team from midfield.

Defensively, Mourtada Fall and Hernan Santana’s partnership has helped make Mumbai City the most solid backline in the league. They’ve conceded the lowest number of goals (4) so far and have kept seven sheets in 11 matches. However, Santana will miss this match on account of suspension.

“I think it will be a mistake if we play against SC East Bengal thinking about our last result. They are a completely different team now. They have improved on various levels. They are a very difficult team. It’s difficult to find spaces in their half [referring to SC East Bengal’s last game].

“…We need to improve. In the last game we could have done better. We are good as far as our place in the table is concerned. But we need to think about every game. We are working a lot to try to prepare in the best way possible for tomorrow’s game,” Mumbai City head coach Lobera said ahead of the game.   

Meanwhile, SC East Bengal themselves will be quietly confident heading into the clash against the league leaders. A lot has happened, and Robbie Fowler’s men have made several improvements since their loss to the Islanders earlier in the campaign.

The Kolkata club, in fact, are currently on a seven-match unbeaten run in the league. However, they’ve only won two out of those seven games and Fowler will know that his side must start converting those draws into wins if they want to make it to the semi-final spots in the second half of the season.

Kerala Blasters FC’s recent 2-1 win over Bengaluru FC put SC East Bengal second from bottom in the standings and the Red and Golds will head into the clash knowing that a win over Mumbai City will see them climb to as high as seventh in the table. Fowler’s men will need their foreign recruits to be on top of their game on Friday and hope that their defence can thwart Mumbai City’s formidable attack.

“Mumbai City is a good side and they have been doing really well but we have to concentrate on our own style, the way we have for the last seven matches. I think the boys have worked really hard. It's not easy to get results. We have seen the first four matches and only after the Kerala match in the first leg, the boys have been doing really well. It's a process that we cannot skip. We have been in a good process now and we need to get some wins," said SC East Bengal assistant coach Renedy Singh ahead of the game.   

Squads:

SC East Bengal

Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Sankar Roy, Mirshad Michu, Suvam Sen

Defenders: Samad Mallick, Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Narayan Das, Mohamed Irshad, Gurtej Singh, N Rohen Singh, Lalramchullova, Rana Gharami, Anil Chawan, Raju Gaikwad, Ankit Mukherjee

Midfielders: Sehnaj Singh, Matti Steinmann, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Wahengbam Luwang, Bikash Jairu, Yumnam Singh, Surchandra Singh, Loken Meitei, Mohammed Rafique, Aaron Joshua Holloway, Anthony Pilkington, Milan Singh, Haobam Singh, Ajay Chhetri

Forwards: Balwant Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, CK Vineeth, Girik Khosla, Harmanpreet Singh, Bright Enobakhare

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 67: SC East Bengal vs Mumbai City FC

Date: January 22 (Friday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

 

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