Chennaiyin FC will hope to hold on to their perfect record against Mumbai City FC when the two teams square off in an exciting Hero Indian Super League (ISL) clash at Chennai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday.
Chennaiyin have won all four matches against Mumbai City FC since the inception of the league in 2014. But this season, Chennaiyin head coach Marco Materazzi has seen history being rewritten.
For example, Chennaiyin’s battles against FC Goa were always won by the visiting teams -- including last season’s final -- yet Chennaiyin broke the trend by winning at home this season.
Delhi Dynamos had lost all four league clashes against Goa, yet secured a comfortable 2-0 victory against last year’s finalists in their last game.
“Every year, everything changes, and every ISL is different from the previous year. What scares me actually is that this season, everything is opposite. We won at home against Goa for the first time and that scares me against Mumbai, against whom we usually win,” said the Italian 2006 World Cup winner.
Chennaiyin are placed fifth on the table with nine points from six matches but Materazzi’s defending champions can jump to the top of the table with a two-goal victory.
Materazzi, however, was not too concerned with either a victory or draw since the goal remains to qualify for the semi-finals and not finish on top at the end of the first phase.
“I don’t care about a two-goal victory. What matters is to get to the play-offs and that is the target for us,” said Materazzi, who will have to do without the injured John Arne Riise and Hans Mulder.
Mumbai have put their previous woes in the ISL behind them and are now slowly but surely working their way towards the play-offs.
Costa Rican coach Alexandre Guimaraes has inculcated a winning habit in his team and is unperturbed with their poor record against Chennaiyin FC.
“First of all, our squad is totally different from last two seasons. I don’t have any player who has this memory (of losses). This is a totally different situation,” said the Mumbai City coach.
“We know that we are playing the champions, against a team who has more continuity of working with the team more than us.”
Guimaraes confirmed that marquee footballer Diego Forlan is available for the clash and it usually means greater excitement on the field.
“When he plays, usually we win. When he plays, usually he scores, or creates an assist. When he plays, our opponents are more aware of him. That’s good for us,” said Guimaraes.
Mumbai are second on the table with 11 points from seven matches and will need a win to move to the top.