Mumbai City could not have asked for a better way to kickstart their ISL campaign – a resounding 2-0 win over rivals Pune City, where they could conceivably have scored at least a couple more goals. The Islanders were dominant against their near neighbours, and coach Jorge Costa will be hoping to carry this form into their game against FC Goa.
The Gaurs have had a decent start to their campaign, picking up a win and a draw from their first two fixtures. That win came in their last game, where they beat defending champions Chennaiyin FC 3-1, and it has been a full 18 days since they last played a game. The side will, therefore, be well rested and raring to go at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
This is a game between two sides with leaky defences; FC Goa have only two clean sheets since the start of last season, while Mumbai City FC have just one shutout from their last 12 games. These numbers point towards an exciting, high-scoring game which should make fans and neutrals alike quite happy.
It finally clicks for Jorge Costa
The Portuguese manager has been looking for that elusive balance between attacking fluency and defensive solidity since his arrival at Mumbai, and the derby against Pune showed signs of it finally being achieved. Mumbai City were not overly troubled by FC Pune, while they looked a threat every time they went forward with the ball. Winger Arnold Issoko was a constant thorn in Pune’s flesh, while Modou Sogou and Rafael Bastos will have had their confidence boosted after netting their first goals of the season. Despite Lucian Goian’s injury-time miss from the penalty spot, Mumbai secured a win comfortably, and it is this blend of silk and steel that Costa will look to bring to Goa as well.
A long break could go either way for Goa
As mentioned above, it has been a whopping 18 days since FC Goa last played a game in the ISL. The international break and the vagaries of the fixture computer combined to give the Gaurs a much-longer rest than usual; its effect on the squad still remains to be seen. The squad will undoubtedly be well-rested, but there may be an issue with regard to a lack of match practice. Nevertheless, Goa’s first home game of this season should be an entertaining affair, if their goalscoring record at the Fatorda stadium from last season is anything to go by. Lobera is also known for his attacking tendencies; as stated above, Goa have kept only two clean sheets since the start of last season, and thus we can expect them to play on the front foot for the entirety of this match.
Mumbai City FC (4-2-3-1): Amrinder; Chakrabarti, Goian, Bose, Ghosh; Sehnaj, Fernandes; Issoko, Machado, Bastos; Sougou
FC Goa (4-2-3-1): Nawaz; Fernandes, Singh, Fall, Dessai; Jahouh, Rodrigues; Bedia, Boumous, Singh; Coro
Mumbai City will probably play the same team that beat FC Pune; Subhashish Bose looks to have made the spot next to Lucian Goian his own, with Shouvik Ghosh at left-back and Marko Klisura on the bench. Rafael Bastos, Paulo Machado and Issoko will look to continue where they left off against the Stallions, with a lot of pace and guile on display, while Sougou will take confidence from his first strike
FC Goa will probably line up in a 4-2-3-1 as well, with a settled defence in front of Mohammed Nawaz in goal. Ahmed Jahouh will look to dictate play from midfield, while Jackichand Singh provides pace and trickery down the right flank. Up front, Ferran Corominas is in blistering form, having scored three braces in his last five games, and he will be raring to go against Mumbai’s shaky defence.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa has the highest goals/game ratio in the ISL since the beginning of last season – 4.1 goals per match. Both teams are better going forward than defending, and so I’m predicting a goal-fest of sorts. A 2-2 draw is what I feel will pan out, with both teams picking up a point for their troubles but not being disciplined enough in defence to eke out a win.