Fatorda (Goa), Nov 16 (IANS) Table-toppers FC Goa will have a chance to avenge their first-leg loss against Mumbai City FC when the two sides face-off in an Indian Super League (ISL) football match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Tuesday.
Mumbai beat Goa 2-0 on October 25 in the first leg at home. But with the vital phase of the tournament approaching, both Goa and Mumbai come into Tuesday’s match after hard-fought drawn encounters against FC Pune City. Hosts Goa are currently on the top of the points table with 15 points from nine games, having won four, drawn three and lost two.
On the other hand, visitors Mumbai are currently in the sixth spot with 12 points from nine games, with three wins, three draws and three losses. India skipper Sunil Chhetri, who missed the last match for Mumbai as he was rested after immediately arriving from national duty, will most probably be in the starting XI for the crucial tie.
The star striker has proved his worth with six goals in the tournament so far to be the leading scorer. The absence of Sony Norde, who is away on national duty for Haiti, will surely be felt considering the kind of form he was in the current season. French football great Nicolas Anelka, who is also Mumbai’s marquee-player-cum-coach, will have to get the A game out of the boys as the team needs to get back to winning ways to secure their place in the top four. His aim will to gather full three points from the match against a side which has been extremely competitive at home this season.
“If you look at the table, we are not far. One win and we are right on top. From now onwards it’s a must-win game, not just for us but all teams. We are not far from the top. We will peak at the end and see who is on top,” Anelka said during the pre-match press conference on Monday. Goa, on the other hand, have lost just once out of their five matches so far at home and look to maintaining their dominance at Fatorda and in the league. Goa have displayed an attacking flair expected of them after packing the squad with as many as seven Brazilians, all handpicked by their coach, the legendary Zico.
The flurry of goals scored by them in the tournament shows their class up-front and it will have to be seen on Tuesday how Zico goes about with his boys to extend the gap at the top. Head-to-head, Mumbai are a step ahead of their opponents with a win in three previous meetings — the other two ties having ended in a draw.
Zico said new Brazilian striker Rafael Coelho has injured himself and will not be available for selection while Reinaldo Oliveira, Joffre Gonzalez and Victorino Fernandes have all recovered. “I am happy with the way the team is playing. I told everyone that all will get their chance and I am glad that all players are giving their best. We just don’t have a team, we have a squad. No team has had so many injuries but despite all that we are on the right track,” Zico said.
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