Mumbai City FC would look to continue their sparkling form after humiliating Pune City FC 5-0 in their previous encounter. A close and entertaining contest is on the cards as Ranbir Kapoor outfit Mumbai City FC take on John Abraham’s co-owned NorthEast United FC.
On the eve of the match, Mumbai FC manager Peter Reid described his pleasure on the performance of his team, “The last result was terrific and we want to carry on that form. Delighted to score five goals and even more delighted to keep a clean sheet because if you keep a clean sheet, you don’t lose football matches”.
Reid added “It is going to be hard though on Friday. I know their coach Ricki Herbert. I’ve managed against him when he was the New Zealand coach and I was with Thailand. It will be difficult, but we are looking forward to it and we hope to replicate our passing from the last game and hopefully get another positive result. I want to go out there and be as solid as we were against Pune. If we get it right with the attacking players we’ve got, we can give anyone a game”.
Reid played an attacking formation in both the previous games and is likely to adopt a similar aggressive approach in the next game. Brazilian Andre Moritz is the key player for Mumbai City FC as he scored a superb hat-trick and penetrated the opponent’s defense with ease along with Indian striker Subash Singh in the previous match against Pune City FC.
On the team line up, Reid said “Ljungberg is 100 per cent fit to start. So I’ve got a problem. I’ve got an even better problem in the game as Nicolas Anelka can start (after serving the three match ban). I don’t mind having such problems. All the players that came in for the previous game did well. I am delighted with the competition for places. Subash played excellently up front, he worked really hard. We all saw how good Andre Moritz is. Peter Costa, the right back did a terrific job”.
Reid also added that Mumbai City captain Syed Rahim Nabi, who injured his ankle in the opening game, is fit to start the match. He said, “Nabi is going to train. We’ve been nursing him, but he is fit to play. He is a very experienced and consistent player and I am delighted to have him fit”.
With Fredrik Ljungberg, Nicolas Anelka and Andre Moritz in the ranks, the strike power of Mumbai City FC looks menacing and can hurt NorthEast United today.
On the other hand, NorthEast United are a concoction of excellent local talent, notwithstanding relatively inexperienced, hailing from the region combined with European talent and promise to entertain with a beautiful brand of football. The away side will reap the consistent benefits of its youthful, Indian contingent which hails majorly from Shillong Lajong FC.
NorthEast United FC is looking for a win in their first away match. NorthEast United have endured a disappointing campaign so far in the ISL as the John Abraham co-owned side had secured a win against Kerala Blasters in the first game but lost to Atletico de Kolkata and drew against an inept FC Goa in their last match. The team has struggled in the final third and has just scored two goals in three matches and would look to change that against Mumbai.
On the eve of the match, New Zealand Coach Ricki Herbert said, “Home or away, we would like to be offensive. We are not here to shut shop and be afraid to go forward. I am more worried about who’ll play for us. There is incredible respect for what other franchises are doing and how they are playing. But I’ve had a long career in franchise football and I know teams fluctuate. And I think teams will fluctuate in this tournament. We are coming through the hardest initial period of 3 games in 6 days and it’s been testing. Hopefully we will be fresh and do well. I think we did well against Goa and could’ve got more out of the game”.
Alexander Tzoravs, who was overlooked for the match against FC Goa, is likely to return as the man between the goal post. Joan Capdevila, may play alongside Garcia, making up a defensive duo that looks solid on paper. Issac Chansa and Mtonga shall marshal the midfield duties and may stop the home side from building attacking play. The Spanish striker Koke who has scored both the goals for his side will again be the man to watch out.
Probable Line Ups:
Mumbai City FC: Subrata Paul, Costa, Pavel Cmvos, Manuel Friedrich, Letzelter, Nadong Bhutia, Tiago, Jan Stohanzl, Lalrindika Ralte, Andre Moritz, Subhash
NorthEast United FC: Alexander Tzorvas, Robin, Joan Capdevila, Garcia, Aibor Khongjee, Adinga, Issac Chansa, Mtonga, Boithang Hakoip, Durga Boro, Koke
NorthEast United FC, in spite of their depth of squad and young talent doesn’t start as favorites in today’s contest. Mumbai City FC is in top form and may justify its dubbing as ‘favorites for the league’ in today’s match. I expect this to be a tight affair; however the strike power in Mumbai City FC cannot be under looked.
My Prediction: Mumbai City FC 2 – NorthEast United FC 1