Mumbai face daunting prospect of visit to NorthEast
Match 25 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 will see NorthEast United FC welcome Mumbai City FC to the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Wednesday. The Highlanders went into the international break much more settled than the west-coast club, who after two consecutive 4-2 defeats, need a positive result.
The Islanders can, however, take heart from the fact that they enjoy a much superior head-to-head record over the Highlanders. In 10 previous meetings between the two outfits, Mumbai have emerged victorious on six occasions with NorthEast winning just the three matches.
Despite the raft of high-profile summer departures, Robert Jarni has so far, done a tremendous job to keep the club unbeaten and in the top four. The Highlanders have two wins and eight points to their name, with almost their entire squad contributing in some form as they continue to adapt to the Croatian’s philosophy.
Winger Redeem Tlang has been the standout Indian star in the team, scoring two goals and helping out the defence with 21 tackles. The industry of the 24-year-old has greatly helped the likes of Asamoah Gyan and Martin Chaves fulfil their attacking roles of catching opposition defences’ off guard. The trio, alongside Panagiotis Triadis, make up a potent attack which will trouble the fragile Mumbai defence on more occasions than one.
However, the two-game suspension handed out to defender Kai Heerings is a major blow for Jarni going into the fixture. The 29-year-old Dutchman has been sensational at the back, forming a strong partnership with Mislav Komorski. His absence will add extra defensive responsibility on the shoulders of Jose Leudo and Milan Singh, thus depriving the Highlanders of some midfield thrust and creativity.
The two-time Hero ISL semi-finalists had a decent start to the season, winning four points from their first two fixtures. Since though, their campaign has completely turned on its head with back-to-back 4-2 losses.
The defence has come under the microscope and will need to up their game if Jorge Costa’s men harbour any hopes of coming away with something from Guwahati. Sarthak Golui and Pratik Chaudhari will need to be on their toes to combat Gyan’s power and skill, while Costa will be keeping his fingers crossed with respect to the return of Rowllin Borges.
The India international and former Highlanders man is a master of breaking up play and reading situations – something which the Islanders can benefit from against NorthEast’s attack. Heerings’ suspension, meanwhile, opens up a decent avenue for the likes of Serge Kevyn and Amine Chermiti, although the duo will need to perform much better than they have so far this season.
NorthEast United FC: Subhasish Roy (GK), Mislav Komorski, Wayne Vaz, Rakesh Pradhan, Reagan Singh, Jose Leudo, Panagiotis Triadis, Redeem Tlang, Martin Chaves, Milan Singh, Asamoah Gyan
Mumbai City FC: Amrinder Singh (GK), Pratik Chaudhari, Subhasish Bose, Sarthak Golui, Valpuia, Rowllin Borges, Raynier Fernandes, Paulo Machado, Serge Kevyn, Mohamed Larbi, Amine Chermiti
DID YOU KNOW?
- NorthEast are one of only three sides yet to face defeat so far this season.
- Mumbai are unbeaten away from home this season.
- Mumbai are yet to score a goal in the first half this season.
Can Mumbai’s leaky defence combat the power of Asamoah Gyan?
Have your say in the comments section below.
Live broadcast schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 25: NorthEast United FC vs Mumbai City FC
Time: 7:30 PM onwards, November 27th
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV