KICK-OFF: Dec. 6, 7.30PM IST (GMT +5.30), Mumbai Football Arena.
Channel; Streaming: Star Sports HD1, 1, 3; Hotstar, Jio TV.
Mumbai City FC are strong favourites going into tonight’s game against a struggling Chennaiyin FC. The Islanders are in great form and have picked up four wins and a draw in their last five games. One of those wins was in the reverse fixture against Chennaiyin at the Marina Arena where a Modou Sougou goal was enough to get them all three points.
Paulo Machado will be the key player for Mumbai City going into tonight’s game. The Portuguese midfielder picked up a goal and an assist in Mumbai’s 4-2 win over Delhi Dynamos in their previous game. He has been ably supported by Rafael Bastos and the powerful Congonese Arnold Issoko.
After a mixed start to the season, Mumbai’s manager Jorge Costa has moulded the side into an organised and compact unit. The defensive core of Lucian Goian, Joyner Lourenco and Subhashish Bose have been instrumental in Mumbai’s turnaround.
Going into tonight’s game, Chennaiyin will have to be at their attacking best to score a goal past Mumbai. Chennai’s campaign this season is now beyond a rough patch or a temporary loss of form and is on the verge of a full-fledged collapse. The defending champions have one win from 10 games and they lost their previous match against ATK in a game where they conceded two needless penalties.
Apart from shoddy defending, their forward line hasn’t done anything of note. Thoi Singh is the highest goalscorer for the Chennai team with four goals. The midfielder has shown the knack of being at the right place at the right time – something which the current strike force lacks. The Palestinian forward Carlos Salom has one goal from nine matches and Jeje is yet to score from 10 appearances in the league.
Chennai have reached a point where they have to win every game and hope other teams concede ground and going by the table, that doesn’t look likely. They will be without Gregory Nelson tonight due to an illness and that makes an already steep mountain insurmountable.
FULL-TIME: Mumbai City FC 2-0 Chennaiyin FC
55′ – GOAL! 2-0 [Modou Sougou, Header, Mumbai City]
27′ – GOAL! 1-0 [R. Fernandes, Assist: Rafael Bastos, Mumbai City]
Mumbai City FC: 89′ Pranjal Bhumij (Arnold Issoko); 73′ Sanju Pradhan (R. Fernandes); 72′ M. Mirabaje (Rafael Bastos).
Chennaiyin FC: 72′ F. Fernandes (R. Laldinliana); 62′ Andrea Orlandi (Inigo Calderon).
Mumbai City stormed into second place in the league with a comfortable 2-0 win over a Chennaiyin side that flattered to deceive.
The Islanders scored a goal apiece in both halves in an efficient and determined performance where they kept their shape after taking the lead and showcased effective game management.
Mumbai opened the scoring in the 27th minute when Raynier
Early in the second half, Mumbai City doubled their lead. Rafael Bastos took a shot from just outside the box which deflected off a defensive block onto the path of Modou Sougou who was perfectly positioned to nod the ball in.
Looking at the xG graph from last night’s game, the Chennayin Running Sum shows a gradual incline especially after they conceded the first goal. They had a few decent chances, but poor play in the final third and resolute defending by Mumbai kept them at bay.
The lack of a genuine goal scorer let down Chennaiyin again with Thoi Singh, Carlos Salom and Andrea Orlandi at the end of a few chances, but they did precious little with their attempts.
Chennaiyin are now stagnant in eigth position and the last strand of hope to salvage their season is now broken. The blame and focus now shifts to John Gregory who seems to have lost the dressing room – the team is pretty much the same as the one that lifted the title last season.