Mumbai City FC and FC Goa will kick off Matchweek 9 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai on Thursday. The two sides share a long and interesting rivalry, which includes two meetings in the Hero ISL playoffs encounters in the 2018-19 and 2020-21 seasons. These two sides have met each other 20 times in the Hero ISL. Both sides have won seven each, and six games have ended in a draw.

Both teams have historically been high-scoring outfits taking the attack to the opposition. Across their 20 encounters against each other a total of 63 goals have been scored, suggesting that a goalfest can be expected when they meet in Mumbai on Thursday.

After scoring 23 goals in eight matches, Mumbai City FC now hold the record for the most goals scored in the opening eight matches of the Hero ISL. Their opponents held the previous record of 22 goals in eight games which they achieved in the 2018-19 season, the same season in which the Gaurs defeated the Islanders in the semi-finals.

The goals are coming thick and fast for Mumbai City FC. Midfielder Ahmed Jahouh opened their scoring from the spot in the previous match against NorthEast United FC. The Moroccan became his side’s 11th different goal scorer this season. Jahouh’s next appearance will be his 100th in the Hero ISL, and he will become only the second foreigner to reach this mark after Tiri. (Club Statistics)

“I’ll be happy with the scoreline as long as we continue to play the way we have in the first eight games. We are prepared and will try to win the game, but we know that we are up against a very tough Goa side that will try to do the same,” said head coach Des Buckingham.

“I am looking forward to playing the same way we have so far this season and improving on that,” he added.

FC Goa failed to break their alternate-game winning pattern against Bengaluru FC last week as they fired a blank in front of goal for the second time this season. The Gaurs will be hoping to keep the pattern alive for another game and emerge with three points to end the Islanders’ unbeaten run.

Quite a few players have recovered from their respective niggles and are fit to start games again. Alvaro Vazquez has started the last two games for FC Goa but has failed to score in both games. Noah Wail Sadaoui has scored four goals in seven games so far and has led the line for the Gaurs. (Club Statistics)

“Our start has been very good compared to last season. We are in a good position after seven games, but we must improve many things. The team dynamic is really good even after the result against Bengaluru,” said Pena. “Mumbai are a very good team. It’s their second season with the same coach, so they know what they are supposed to do,” he added.

While Mumbai City FC have been dominant this season unbeaten and placed at the top of the Hero ISL points table, the Gaurs are six points off the league leaders but have a game in hand. (League Standings)