The 2016 Indian Super League table topper NorthEast United FC will travel to Mumbai this Friday to face Mumbai City FC. Both teams will be looking to maintain their 100 percent start to the ISL season 3. The visitors have made their strongest start in the ISL history with two wins out of two games. The North-East club defeated FC Goa 2-0 in their last game, having beaten Kerala Blasters in their first game 1-0. Mumbai began their ISL season 3 journey with 1-0 victory against FC Pune City.
Mumbai City FC (MCFC) pulled off the ideal start to their 2016 ISL campaign with a win over neighbors FC Pune City in the first derby of the season. Their performance was assured and they were pushed on to the back foot for most part of the first half by an energetic Pune side that failed to go past goalkeeper Neto. Moving forward, Mumbai City weren’t made to feel the absence of key players Sunil Chhetri and Sony Norde, with marquee player Diego Forlan pulling the strings admirably and even dropping back from time to time to help the midfield. The squad shows to have depth this season, and would be interesting to see them as they begin their ISL journey at their new home, the Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri.
NorthEast United (NEUFC) is in unchartered territory. They top the ISL table going into this match with two clean sheets in their first two matches, matching the feat achieved by Atletico de Kolkata and FC Goa of opening a season with two successive wins. Paul, Velez, N’dri, Alfaro have really impressed in the first two matches. Coach Nelo Vingada has utilized his resources well, and has kept a consistent distribution of Indian players in key positions. NEUFC will get tested in this match as it their first away match in the ISL season 3.
Managers Comments on the eve of the opening match
“Sometimes in the first few minutes it’s normal not to get possession of the ball. As soon as we managed that after 20 minutes — maybe 25 — we found our game and the spaces for our players to perform. In defense of course we have to be much more alert, we cannot allow the counter attacks that they did and they did well but our goalkeeper also did a fantastic job,” – Mumbai City FC head coach Alexandre Guimarae.
“Our team plays three games in six days. Some of the players have now played consecutive games. The good thing is this can give the players a very good rhythm. But I am confident as we have some players that haven’t played until now and they can play anytime. It was a good thing that we finished the game with six Indian players and five foreign players, to keep the team in balance,” – NorthEast United head coach Nelo Vingada.
Mumbai City FC (4-2-3-1): Neto; Khongjee, Ali, Goian, Ralte; Vadócz, Costa; Halder, Defederico, Singh; Forlán.
NorthEast United FC (4-1-3-2): Paul; Gurung, Lazaretti, Mailson, Singh; Borges; N’dri, Halicharan, Katsumi; Alfaro, Velez.
NEUFC is flying high with back to back wins and can beat anyone on a given day. Velez and Alfaro upfront looks explosive and Paul between the posts provides a calming effect. On the other hand, Mumbai City also looks decent side under Alexandre Guimarae. We are going for an away win and a tight contest. NEUFC to sneak a win.
NEUFC FANS Prediction: Mumbai City 1 – NorthEast United FC 2