Indian Super League 2017-18: Mumbai City FC look to go the distance
After making the semi-finals of the Indian Super League last season, Mumbai City FC are eyeing their maiden final this time around.Updated: Nov 15, 2017 16:57 IST
Going by their history in the Indian Super League (ISL), Mumbai City FC have been consistent in adding star names to their roster since the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2014. It was Fredrik Ljungberg in season one, Nicolas Anelka in the second year and Diego Forlan in the third.
But it wasn’t until last year that any of their acquisitions had led them to any notable success. Forlan may have netted five times in 2016 but it was Mumbai’s defensive solidarity that was pivotal to their semi-final finish last year. Managed by Alexandre Guimaraes, Mumbai City conceded only 11 goals last season of which three came in one semi-final against ATK.
Defenders Gerson Viera and Lucian Goian, midfielders Leo Costa and Sehnaj Singh, alongside goalkeeper Amrinder Singh were integral to their success, all retained by the club this season. Their retention policy indicates that rather than splurging and experimenting on new additions, Guimaraes has built a formidable side on the back on last year’s success as he aims to guide Mumbai all the way this season.
2016 – Semi-finals, first in group stage
2015 – Sixth in group stage
2014 – Seventh in group stage
Alexandre Guimaraes led Mumbai City FC to their best finish in the ISL in his first year in-charge. Not only did they reach the semi-finals, but managed to get there after finishing the group stage in first position. They were beaten just thrice under the watchful eyes of the Costa Rican.
Guimaraes’ has previously coached Costa Rica’s national team and led them past the qualifying stages for the 2002 and the 2006 FIFA World Cups. As a manager he has also coached Costa Rican clubs Belen FC and Herediano which led him to a successful stint at Saprissa, another top side from Costa Rica. His managerial career has also taken him to Mexico and China.
As a player, his highlight moment came when he represented Costa Rica at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, hosted in Italy.
“We achieved some of the objectives last year by finishing top of the table and reaching the semi-finals but I’d like to continue this project and finish the job I came here for,” Alexandre Guimaraes.
Players to watch out for
Amrinder Singh (Goalkeeper): The custodian’s performances in the ISL last year earned him a whopping fee of Rs.1.2 crore at the ISL auctions earlier this year. In his six appearances for Mumbai City last season, he managed to keep five clean sheets that that also won him the Golden Glove award.
Everton Santos (Midfielder): Santos, who has turned out for the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, joined Mumbai City from Brazilian second division side Santa Cruz. His ability to play in any attacking position will make him a valuable asset to Guimaraes’ setup that will likely hand him a free role going forward.
Balwant Singh (Forward): The speedy Indian striker, who spent his first two seasons in the ISL with Chennaiyin FC, will be eager to continue on his superb form for the Indian national team. He has scored three goals from four appearances for the Indian team in past three months alone.
First Published: Nov 14, 2017 09:05 IST