Mumbai, Jan 31 (IANS) Mumbai City FC pit their wits against FC Goa in an attempt to wipe off the first leg humiliation in an Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Friday.
The hosts are second on the table with 27 points from 13 games while FC Goa are six points behind, albeit with a match in hand.
The clash is pivotal in the race for the top-four spot. Mumbai can break the 30-point barrier with a win while FC Goa know that any slip up will allow the likes of Jamshedpur FC and ATK gain ground on them.
Goa inflicted a heavy 5-0 defeat on Mumbai the last time they met. However, Mumbai have been a different team altogether since that loss.
Coach Jorge Costa moved Subhasish Bose to his favoured left-back position in the aftermath of the tie, a move which has reaped dividends.
They are now on an unbeaten run of nine matches and inflicted on Bengaluru FC their first defeat in the last game.
“The last game against FC Goa was a bad day for us with a bad result. After that game, things are much better. We didn’t make any special changes. Tomorrow, we will have a different game for sure. I don’t know what will be the final result but it will not be like the last game for sure,” said Costa.
“We have our way to play and they have their way to play. They are a good team and are in very good shape. They know how to keep the ball. (But) we also know what to do.”
Arnold Issoko continues to be a threat down the flank and has been troubling opposition full-backs.
Modou Sougou was substituted in the last game because of a tight hamstring and it remains to be seen if the Senegalese striker will make the cut against Goa.
As much as Mumbai City are lethal on the counter, FC Goa have been very productive from the wings. Out of the 27 goals scored by FC Goa this season, 12 have been scored from crosses.
“Since Mumbai’s defeat in Goa, they have had great momentum and they have come back in a great manner. At the moment they are in great form,” said FC Goa assistant coach Jesus Tato.
“They defeated the league leaders Bengaluru FC. So if we don’t give our hundred per cent, it will be a tough game,” he added.
Mumbai’s defence is as resolute as Goa’s attack is strong. The Islanders have kept seven clean sheets so far this season. But they will be tested by a fluid Goa attack.