Well, that didn’t go as planned, did it? We did say that Wednesday night’s game at the Fatorda would be a goal-fest; what we did not expect was that one side would do all the scoring, as FC Goa handed out a 5-0 thrashing to Mumbai City. This was certainly not the display that Jorge Costa had in mind when making the trip down the coast, and he now has a task on his hands to ensure that his squad are not too demoralised by this result before a crucial tie against Delhi Dynamos.
Delhi Dynamos could be the perfect opponents for the Islanders to get back into form, as they have failed to win a game so far. That said, the side from the capital should not be underestimated; Josep Gombau is a canny operator, and he will have his side ready to capitalise on any fragility that Mumbai display after their capitulation in Goa.
Mumbai need to start scoring
Having played four matches so far, Mumbai City have scored only three goals, two of which came in their previous home game against FC Pune City. Their shot conversion rate is an abysmal 5.8%, while they have only had 15 shots on target across these games. This points towards a side which is not creating enough chances, as well as not taking the ones they are creating. Costa has so far resisted from making wholesale changes to his attack, with the likes of Modou Sougou and Rafael Bastos having started all four matches despite not looking at their best. With India veterans Sanju Pradhan and Mohamed Rafique on the bench, this may be the game where the Portuguese manager decides that a change is necessary in order to get the Islanders firing more than just blanks. At the same time, the defence has been woeful as well, having conceded eight goals already, and there is a case for Costa to freshen up his backline as well, although he seemed reluctant to be drawn on the issue in the pre-match press conference.
Dynamos not living up to their name
Delhi Dynamos have been far from dynamic in the 2018/19 ISL, putting in hardworking performances but failing to create too many chances. The Lions have had only 37 shots on goal across their four games – the lowest of the tournament so far, and join Mumbai City in having scored only thrice. The hope was that transplanting Rene Mihelic from the title-winning Chennaiyin FC squad would add a burst of creativity to the side, but the Slovenian is yet to find the form that made him so irresistible for Chennaiyin last season. In common with Mumbai City, the Lions’ defence has not looked too sturdy, and they have been indebted to their goalkeeper Francisco Dorronsoro to bail them out. That said, the Dynamos have only conceded four goals so far; half the total Mumbai have, and Gombau will be quietly confident of ending Delhi’s winless run, both in this ISL and in Mumbai, at the Mumbai Football Arena.
Mumbai City FC (4-2-3-1): Amrinder; Chakrabarti, Goian, Bose, Ghosh; Sehnaj, Fernandes; Issoko, Machado, Bastos; Sougou
Delhi Dynamos (4-2-3-1): Dorronsoro; Kotal, Crespi, Gharami, Das; Zuiverloon, Singh; Sekar, Mihelic, Chhangte; Kaluderovic
Jorge Costa may want to make changes to his side, but he does not have too many quality options. Marko Klisura is an alternative partner for Lucian Goian at the back, which means that one of the forward options may sit out this game if he comes in; most likely Bastos or Sougou.
The Lions will probably retain the majority of the side that secured a 0-0 draw with Chennaiyin last time out, and Gombau will be hoping that the likes of Chhangte and Mihelic supply enough chances for Kaluderovic to score.
While Mumbai City looked shell-shocked in the last quarter of their defeat against FC Goa, my money is on Costa being able to spark a reaction from this side. I am going for a 2-0 win for the Islanders, which will put them right back into contention for a playoff spot.