After two back-to-back defeats, Mumbai City FC would be keen to get back to winning ways when they clash with an equally strong North East United FC in an Indian Super League encounter here on Wednesday. Mumbai’s unbeaten run of nine games ended when they suffered a 2-0 loss against FC Goa here at the Mumbai Football Arena in their previous home game. The next ‘away’ outing against Jamshedpur FC also proved to be a damp squib as they lost 1-0. Mumbai coach Jorge Costa would be eyeing to grab three crucial points from this game.
At present, after 15 games, Mumbai is in the second spot in the standings with 27 points, just behind league leaders Bengaluru FC (31 points). North East United FC are in the fourth position with 24 points from 15 games and a win would enhance their chances of reaching the playoffs.
For the hosts, their best bet would be Senegalese medio Modou Sougou, who has nine goals to his name so far He has formed a lethal combination with Congo striker Arnold Issoko, who has five assists to his name. Sougou, who failed to create his magic against Goa, will be eager to do something special this time around.
The hosts also have Brazilian striker Rafael Bastos. His rapport with both Issoko and Sougou has also been good. If the trio fire in unison, the opposition defenders will come under severe pressure. Mumbai also has a strong midfield manned by Sougou, Paulo Machado and Matias Mirabaje.
They also have a strong defence but need to pull up their socks and work on their weakness which was thoroughly exposed by Goa. Experienced Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh was tested severely in the game against Goa and he let in two goals. He would be anxious to put up a better show.
But that would be an arduous task as the visitors have French striker Bartholomew Ogbeche, who is the leading goal scorer in the season with 11 strikes, to bank on. Apart from Ogbeche, other North East strikers are Girik Khosla, Juan Mascia and Kivi Zhimomi.
The North East team also have a strong link line manned by the likes of Rowlin Borges, Uruguayan Federico Gallego and Colombian Jose Leudo. The visitors will rely on Gurvinder Singh, Shouvik Ghosh and Croatian Mislav Komorski, in deep defence, apart from custodian Rehenesh TP.