Mumbai City FC are six points away from winning the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) Winners Shield as they take on FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday. With a win, the Islanders could also seal the title if Hyderabad FC lose against Odisha FC on Friday. FC Goa, meanwhile, will be looking to capitalise on ATK Mohun Bagan’s drop in form by taking their place in the top four. But for that, the Gaurs will have to do something that no team has done this season - beat the Islanders.

In the last four games, FC Goa have drawn two and won two. The Gaurs will be eager to extend this unbeaten streak to five games to give themselves a narrow advantage in the playoff race. Last week, after a positive start, they were held to a 1-1 draw in Odisha.

In the last five games at home, FC Goa have won four and lost just one. In those five games, Carlos Pena’s men have scored 13 goals. Noah Sadaoui has been key to this - the Moroccan has seven goals and seven assists this season. Iker Guarrotxena is still the club’s leading goal scorer this season with ten goals. Edu Bedia served his suspension in the last game and will be fit and available for the crunch encounter against Mumbai City FC. 

“We are in a tight battle to reach our first objective of the season. We don’t think too much about the opponent. We know their strengths and will face them confidently, knowing that it will be a tough game for both sides,” said Pena. “We could have won against NorthEast and Odisha, but we cannot waste time thinking about it. We have three games to reach our objective and are focused on that,” he added.

While Mumbai City FC can be anywhere from being a few points away from the title or wrapping it up altogether on Saturday, they’ll be wary that their last two away outings have been tricky. The Islanders clinched narrow wins against ATK Mohun Bagan and Jamshedpur FC, with the latter being a late come-from-behind win.

Jorge Pereyra Diaz remains the club’s leading goalscorer this season after bagging his tenth goal of the campaign last week. Pereyra also has six assists under his belt. Ahmed Jahouh will return from suspension to go toe-to-toe with Edu Bedia in midfield. 

“At the start of the season, I was asked what game I was looking forward to this season and I answered with the visit to Goa. Last year, we spent six months together there. We were looked after and well-received,” said Buckingham. “I’m looking forward to returning to Fatorda to try and continue playing the way we have, and I’m expecting a very good game,” he added.

The two sides have met 21 times in the Hero ISL. Mumbai City FC have won eight games, while FC Goa have won seven. Six games have ended in draws. In the reverse fixture earlier this season, the Islanders beat the Gaurs 4-1 in Mumbai.