Mumbai City FC have emerged as the strongest force in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season so far this season as they sit on the top of the table after matchweek 8. 

The Islanders are the only unbeaten team in the league so far winning five out of their eight matches and drawing the other three. Des Buckingham’s team have been firing on all cylinders in attack scoring 23 goals which is the most by any team after eight matches in Hero ISL history. 

Mumbai City FC though have also significantly improved at the back conceding just over one goal per game as compared to over 1.5 goals per game last season. One of the key reasons for the improvement on that front has been the steady and assured goalkeeping of Phurba Lachenpa who has made the spot between the sticks his own despite some tough competition. 

“It feels great to be a part of this quad because we had three strong goalkeepers. Bhaskar Roy was one of the best goalkeepers in the I-League last year and (Mohammad) Nawaz because he been performing for last 4-5 Hero ISL seasons,” Lachenpa told the club’s YouTube channel in an interview. 

“It's a tough competition and a healthy competition that we have and if each one of us is pushing each other to our limits, then it benefits us because we can take all positive and negative things from each other. We have a great (goalkeeping coach) in Rozario. We are learning from each other every day and pushing each other to our limits,” he added. 

Lachenpa impressed during Mumbai City FC’s AFC Champions League campaign where he took over from Nawaz as the first-choice goalkeeper of the team. He has produced 19 saves in eight matches and has been a calming figure in the Islanders' rearguard. 

The Sikkim-born custodian though has urged his team to keep going strong and not let their foot off the pedal. 

“We just have to stick to our coach's football. We are enjoying our football right now. That is the main thing. So, we just have to stick to the coach's plan and carry this momentum forward by expressing ourselves on the field,” he said. 

“We need to forget our previous performances and try to perform on the pitch. The team that will perform on the given day will win the points,” added Lachenpa. 

Mumbai City FC will look to extend their lead at the top end of the table when they take on FC Goa at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday as Matchweek 9 begins with a mouth-watering clash between two clubs who have shared quite a strong rivalry over the years in the Hero ISL.