Mumbai City FC brace up against Pune challenge in ISL (Preview)

Navi Mumbai, Nov 12 (IANS) Having put their campaign back on track after a shaky start, Mumbai City FC will have a chance to avenge their first-leg loss against FC Pune City when the two Maharastrian sides face-off in an Indian Super League (ISL) football match at the D.Y. Patil Stadium here on Friday.

Pune beat Mumbai 3-1 on October 5 in the first leg at home. But with the vital phase of the tournament approaching, hosts Mumbai come into the Friday’s match after a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Delhi Dynamos FC in an away tie.

The team is currently in the sixth position in the points table with 11 points from eight games, having won three, drawn two and lost three.

On the other hand, visitors Pune also arrive here after managing a 2-2 draw at home against table toppers FC Goa. They are currently in the second spot with 14 points from nine games, with four wins, two draws and three losses.

India skipper Sunil Chhetri, who was bought by Mumbai in the players’ auction, has proved his worth with six goals in the tournament so far to be the leading scorer.

The 31-year-old will be the key man for the home side again and is expected to join the squad after playing for India against Guam in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday.

Alongside Chhetri, the hosts will rely on the in-form Haitian forward Sony Norde, who has produced some excellent chances and assists in the ongoing tournament.

French football great Nicolas Anelka, who is also Mumbai’s marquee-player-cum-coach, will be happy to have got the combination right in their past few matches after getting off to a sloppy start. His aim will to gather full three points from the match and enter the top four.

English coach David Platt has used his experience to good effect in the past four matches for Pune and will hope his boys get back their winning touch.

The coach will be very pleased with the efforts of the team as his side has netted 13 goals so far in the tournament.

Club’s foreign signings, former Romanian star Adrian Mutu, Ivorian Didier Zokora, Turkish great Tuncay Sanli, all have delivered exceedingly well for the side both with goals or assists.

Young Indians Eugenesin Lyngdoh and Jackichand Singh also pose a real threat to the opponents.

With both the teams looking balanced and competitive on paper, one can expect the players to turn promise into performance.

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