Mumbai, Jan 16 (IANS) Mumbai FC want to fully exploit their home conditions and adopt an attacking approach when they face East Bengal in an I-League clash at the Cooperage Stadium here on Sunday evening. Talking on the eve of the match, Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil stated that he was satisfied with the result of the goalless draw with Shillong Lajong in the opening tie last week and was looking forward to a positive result against East Bengal. 

“Sunday’s match is vital for our team. As it’s the first home game it’s all the more important that we play for a win and the three points,” Jamil said during the pre-match media briefing here on Saturday. The coach also said that Mumbai does not have any injury concerns, but would bring in a couple of changes for the game. “It’s just the beginning of the league and thank God no injuries so far. All the boys are fit, but I could make a few changes to the team, which played last week. To win tomorrow, we have to attack and try to score. So I will require players who can fit into the scheme of things as I plan to attack from the start to end,” he stated. 

“East Bengal is a good side and very tough opponents. They have a good attack with the experienced Ranty Martins Soleye and Korean Dong-Hyun Do and we have to watch them closely,” said a cautious Jamil, who added that he has already spoken about the duo to his team. But Jamil is confident that the defence, which is in the safe hands of reliable Ashutosh Mehta and new recruits Korean Min-Chol Son, Pratik Chowdhary and Clyde Fernandes, will put up a doughty display to contain the threat from the East Bengal forwards. 

Goalkeeper Pawan Kumar should also to be watchful and co-ordinate well with the back four to ensure that his citadel stays intact. Meanwhile, East Bengal coach Biswajit Bhattacharya also said that it is going to be a difficult match and was pleased with the win in the previous round against Sporting Clube de Goa. 

“Mumbai FC is a strong team who fight hard. They are guided by an excellent coach Khalid Jamil, who was also a great footballer. I fully respect them and I sure it would be a good game,” Bhattacharya said. Bhattacharya smiled when asked about the first game. “The boys have done well. Every player contributed towards the win and we hope to continue in the same fashion,” he remarked. 

However, Bhattacharya was a bit worried about the injuries in the team. “Midfielder Cavin Lobo and defender Gurwinder Singh are both out with injury and did not start in the last game. Now medio Sehnaj Singh sustained an injury against Sporting Clube is also ruled out. But I have plenty of options and will decide tomorrow on the final composition of the team,” he admitted. The Mumbai outfit would also be determined to extend their unbeaten run against the Kolkata champions, East Bengal, having won two and drawn the other three, in the last five I-League meetings. Mumbai FC had defeated East Bengal 2-1 at home last May and drawn 1-1 in the away last April. Mumbai’s other win was a 3-2 victory in 2013 at Pune.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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