Match 87 Preview: Mumbai City face FC Goa as Lobera eyes double over former club

Mumbai City FC will be looking to extend their lead at the summit of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) standings when they face FC Goa at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Monday. The Islanders won their last outing against Kerala Blasters FC narrowly and will be eyeing beating FC Goa to the double over the Gaurs this season.

Sergio Lobera will be relishing the prospect of going up against his former side after a late Adam le Fondre earned Mumbai City their first win of the campaign earlier in the season. The Islanders’ head-to-head against Goa slightly favours the Gaurs. Goa have won seven times, lost on five occasions and been involved in three draws against Mumbai City.

The Islanders though will back themselves to get the better of a Goa outfit that hasn’t been at their best for most of the campaign. Mumbai City, on the contrary, are a much more balanced side that isn’t just one of the top goal-scoring outfits in the league with 22 goals, but they also possess the meanest defence having conceded only eight times so far.

They have kept eight clean sheets – joint most by a team this season – and have netted 13 times from set-pieces. The Islanders have also conceded the least goals from open play (3) and can score goals from several avenues on the pitch as well as on the bench.

“Same as always we are focusing on ourselves. We try to win every game, try to get three very important points. It’s always special when you play against your former team …We are ambitious and we want to win the game. And we are working to try to get the three points,” Lobera said ahead of the game.

Goa, meanwhile, have struggled to be at their best of late despite being on an eight-match unbeaten run. The Gaurs, in fact, have drawn their last four matches and need to start converting one point into three soon if they want to continue occupying a top four spot in the standings.

Generally slow starters in a game, Goa have won 10 points after conceding the first goal – the most by a team in Hero ISL 2020-21. Stronger in the second half of matches, the Gaurs have netted 13 of their goals after the restart with eight of those coming in the final 15 minutes of games. The Spanish attacking duo of Igor Angulo and Jorge Ortiz will be their biggest threats in the final-third.

Defensively, Goa need to do better while defending, particularly from set-pieces which is a strength of Mumbai City as mentioned above. The Gaurs have conceded 12 times from set-pieces and need to be careful while defending such situations against a Mumbai City team that thrives from such opportunities.

"For me, it's a normal game. Of course, we want to get three points. We want to prepare our plan and execute it on the pitch. Our target is to be in the semis but we have to improve game by game. But this game is not special, because it's not a final or a semi-final. It's just one game more and we want to get the three points," FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando 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

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

Forwards: Adam Le Fondre, Bartholomew Ogbeche

FC Goa

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

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

Midfielders: Alberto Noguera, Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Jorge Mendoza, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, Redeem Tlang, Glan Martins, Amarjit Singh

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

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 87:

Date: February 8 (Monday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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