Mumbai City FC face NorthEast United FC in must-win game in Indian Super League

Mumbai City FC, who have suffered four successive losses at home, are in the seventh position in Indian Super League with 20 points having won six of their 15 matches so far.

football Updated: Feb 21, 2018 20:20 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai City FC,NorthEast United FC,Indian Super league
Mumbai City FC will face NorthEast United FC in Indian Super League in Mumbai on Thursday.(ISL)

The last time Mumbai City FC won at home was almost two months ago. Four losses have followed their 4-0 thrashing of bottom placed Delhi Dynamos FC on December 29 at the Mumbai Football Arena. And Alexandre Guimaraes’ side will certainly need to change that statistic when they take on NorthEast United FC on Thursday if they are to remain in contention.

The chances of Mumbai City making the play-offs, though, are very bleak. Currently in seventh position with 20 points, they will need to win the remainder of their three games but more importantly, depend on the other teams dropping points.

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NorthEast United FC, who are surely out of the race, are also win-less in their last six outings, setting up Mumbai City with an opportunity to give their fans a happy farewell in what will be their final home game of the league phase. Guimaraes certainly hopes to do so.

“It’s good to be alive and we will fight till the end. We come here knowing that we have a chance and that we have to play better to try and win tomorrow against a team who have played well but didn’t have the luck to get better results,” said the Costa Rican.

“I also hope that tomorrow, finally, we can win a game at home which for us, besides the importance to continue the fight, should be a good present for our fans. We want to send them home happy for all their support.”

Some added impetus for Mumbai City will also be Guimaraes’ indication towards skipper Lucian Goian making a full-start after coming on as a substitute in their 2-1 win over ATK. Indian forward Balwant Singh though is set to miss the clash through suspension after picking up his fourth yellow card from a brief appearance off the bench against ATK.

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But yet, the onus to take the game to the visitors will fall on the Mumbai City players. Talking about the pressure on his side, Guimaraes said: “The pressure will be higher if we coaches don’t see that our team is playing well, or the players are not doing what we ask them to do. But for the past two seasons we have always found ourselves in a position to be fighting.”

NorthEast United will be without striker Marcinho, assistant manager Elco Schattorie confirmed. Central defenders Jose Goncalves and Sambinha alongside midfielder also remain doubtful.

“It’s difficult to prepare for a game where we cannot qualify. Difficult to motivate but at the same time, we didn’t have issues regarding that,” said Schattorie.

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 17:47 IST