With a new head coach in place, the Mumbai City FC will look to start the fifth season of the Indian Super League (ISL) with a win when they take on Jamshedpur FC in Mumbai on Tuesday.
The coveted ISL crown has eluded Mumbai for the past four seasons. The ‘Islanders’ – as they are fondly called — had a particularly disappointing time last season.
But with new coach Jorge Costa taking over their reins, they will look forward to an improvised show and change of fortunes at the Mumbai Football Arena in suburban Andheri.
Mumbai have made several changes to their squad and roped in Indian players like Souvik Chakrabarti, Raynier Fernandes and Subhashish Bose.
Their notable foreign acquisitions include Paulo Machado (Portugal)and striker Rafael Bastos (Brazil).
With Bose, Mumbai have strengthened their defence, which was a definite concern last season, and also included Romanian Lucian Goian, Arnold Issoko (Congo), Souvik Ghosh and Anwar Ali.
With Senegal’s Modou Sougou bringing his experience to the table, Mumbai now have a strong mid-field.
If Sougou and Bastos fire in unison, Jamshedpur’s defence will come under severe threat.
Mumbai are also expected to display an attacking style of football, which was seen during the pre-season campaign in Thailand where they won three games and drew one.
The hosts also have the solid Amrinder Singh and Kunal Sawant to call upon as goal stoppers.
Mumbai will heave a sigh of relief as Jamshedpur’s best bet, Australian World Cup striker Tim Cahill, and senior goal-keeper Subrata Paul will not feature in Tuesday’s clash as they have been suspended.
With these two stars missing from the visitors’ ranks, Mumbai look to have the edge.
It will be Costa’s first game in his new role and a win will surely boost his and the side’s confidence going ahead into the long-tournament.
Jamshedpur, who finished fifth on the points table last season, also have a new head coach — Cesar Ferrando who will also be aiming for a positive beginning.
But with two of his best players out from the Tuesday game, the others will have to display something special, if they have to spring a surprise.
Also, Mumbai have not won against Jamshedpur, having drawn and lost a game in their two meetings last season.
The hosts would strive hard to change the narrative this time around.
The kick-off is at 7.30 pm.