Pune, Mumbai face off in Maharashtra Derby with bragging rights on the line

FC Pune City will host Mumbai City FC in what promises to be another intense Maharashtra Derby at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on Saturday. The match might have no significance in terms of the semi-final spots but both teams will be eager to get one up on their neighbouring rivals and gift their fans some bragging rights.

The two teams have faced off on nine occasions in the past, with Pune bagging five wins and Mumbai three.

FC Pune City

The Stallions’ six-match unbeaten run was brought to an abrupt halt in their last match against Delhi Dynamos FC. The 3-1 loss against the Lions was also Pune’s first defeat under new head coach Phil Brown and the Englishman will be eager to sign off on a high with a victory in their final match of the Hero ISL season in front of the home crowd. A victory in the match will also enable the Stallions to compete for a sixth-place finish and hopefully dislodge ATK from the spot, depending on the result of the ATK vs Delhi match on Sunday. Finishing sixth will help the Stallions gain automatic qualification to the Hero Super Cup without the need to go through the qualifiers.

Barring the recent match against Delhi, Pune have been in fine form of late, picking up 14 points in their last 7 matches. The Stallions will, however, be without the talismanic Marcelo Pereira in the match on Saturday owing to a suspension. To recall, the Brazilian was sent off in the dying minutes against Delhi. The injury to midfielder Marko Stankovic hurt Pune against the Lions and the Austrian’s availability for Saturday’s match may have a big impact on the outcome. Diego Carlos and Ashique Kuruniyan, on the other hand, are certain to miss out due to injuries. Martin Diaz will also be suspended for the match, adding to Pune’s woes. However, Adil Khan, who missed the last match due to a suspension, will be back to bolster the squad on Saturday.

Here’s a look at Pune’s current season in numbers:

Mumbai City FC

The Islanders have already qualified for the semi-finals but will want to win the derby on Saturday to boost their confidence heading into the next phase of the tournament.

However, expect head coach Jorge Costa to leave out star striker Modou Sougou from the matchday squad considering the Senegalese is on three yellow cards and one more booking will rule him out of the semis. Left back Subhasish Bose and midfielder Matias Mirabaje, too, will most likely be rested for the same reason. Sehnaj Singh and Sauvik Chakrabarti will also be unavailable for selection due to suspension.

Despite the absentees, the Islanders still be a strong outfit with the likes of Arnold Issoko, Paulo Machado, Rafael Bastos and Lucian Goian in their ranks.

Here are the stats from Mumbai’s season so far:

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:

FC Pune City: Kamaljit Singh (GK/C), Sarthak Golui, Matt Mills, Gurtej Singh, Sahil Panwar, Adil Khan, Rohit Kumar, Nikhil Poojary, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Robin Singh, Iain Hume

Mumbai City FC: Amrinder Singh (GK), Marko Klisura, Lucian Goian, Anwar Ali, Pranjal Bhumij, Arnold Issoko, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Milan Singh, Raynier Fernandes, Paulo Machado (C), Rafael Bastos

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Mumbai have conceded second-lowest number of goals through set-pieces (4) this season.
  • If Mumbai win against Pune, they will reach 33 points which will be 10 more than what they had last season.
  • FC Pune City have scored just 1 goal from crosses this season (lowest in the league).

FANSPEAK

Which coach will have the last laugh on Saturday?

  • Phil Brown
  • Jorge Costa

Have your say in the comments section below.

Catch the match live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV at 7.30 PM.

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