Match 76 Preview: Mumbai City look to avenge opener defeat against NorthEast

Mumbai City FC will be eager to get the better of NorthEast United FC when the two sides clash at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Saturday. NorthEast is the only side to beat Mumbai City this campaign having edged the Islanders 1-0 in both sides’ season opener. However, beating Mumbai City for a second time won’t be easy, especially when you consider how the Islanders have gone on since that defeat.

Unbeaten in 12 games ever since the defeat to NorthEast, Mumbai City, with a win or draw on Saturday, can become the first team in league history to have gone unbeaten for 13 successive games. Defensively sound and sharp in attack, the Islanders have conceded five times – the least by a team in the league – and found the back of the net 19 times over the course of the campaign.

Sergio Lobera’s men tend to score most of their goals in the first half having netted 12 of their 19 goals in the opening period of contests. They will be hoping for another strong start against the Highlanders as they look to make amends for their only loss of the season. A well-drilled outfit, Mumbai City are very dangerous from set-pieces and have scored 12 times from such situations – the most by any side in the league. Their defence is also difficult to breach as their eight clean sheets so far suggest.

"I am not worried about the first match. They have improved a lot with the new coach [interim head coach Khalid Jamil] in the last two games. They are playing very good attacking football and very comfortable keeping possession of the ball. For us it's going to be a different game from the first leg but we have obviously improved from the first match of the season. It's going to be a very good game and it's not easy now to play against NorthEast," Lobera said ahead of the game.

NorthEast, on the other hand, will be confident in their ability to go toe-to-toe with Mumbai City after a run of good results. They head into the game on the back of a three-match unbeaten run that’s seen them win both their previous two games. A clean sheet will go a long way towards ensuring a result against Mumbai City but that will be easier said than done when you consider that NorthEast have failed to register a shut-out in their last seven matches.

The Highlanders also need to be more organized while defending set-pieces, especially once you factor in such situations being a strength for Mumbai City. NorthEast have conceded eight goals from set-pieces and need to remain switched on defensively at all times. Offensively, they need to make the most of counter-attacks and add to the four goals that they’ve netted on the break.

Playmaker Federico Gallego will shoulder a lot of the responsibility to make things happen in attack and the Uruguayan will be relishing the prospect of expressing himself against the Islanders after scoring as well as assisting in NorthEast’s last outing. He’s scored twice and provided four assists so far and will be a key player for the Highlanders.

"First of all, I would like to give credit to the players for their hard work and good performance in the last two games. Hopefully, we will continue with the same spirit in tomorrow's match. Mumbai City, unbeaten 12 games, are a good team but we must believe that we can beat them tomorrow. We just have to be disciplined in our attacking and defending principles and be confident. We have beaten them once but tomorrow is a new game and a fresh challenge for us. I'm sure that the players will be putting in their best efforts to get three points tomorrow,” NorthEast assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew 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, Jackichand Singh, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Vikram Partap Singh, Pranjal Bhumij

Forwards: Adam Le Fondre, Bartholomew Ogbeche

NorthEast United FC

Goalkeepers: Gurmeet, Nikhil Deka, Sanjiban Ghosh, Subhasish Roy

Defenders: Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Nabin Rabha, Nim Dorjee, Provat Lakra, Wayne Vaz

Midfielders: Federico Gallego, Imran Khan, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Lalrempuia Fanai, Pragyan Gogoi, Rochharzela

Forwards: Britto PM, Idrissa Sylla, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Deshorn Brown, Lalkhawpuimawia, Luis Machado, Suhair Vadakkepeedika

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 76: Mumbai City FC vs NorthEast United FC

Date: January 30 (Saturday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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