Confident Mumbai takes on last season’s runner-up Chennai in Wednesday encounter of the Indian Football League 2020-21. Mumbai have a fine opportunity to top the table, while Chennai would aim to find three points to give some winning push to its struggling start.
Match Timings: Dec 09, 7:30 PM IST
Jamshedpur opened the door for Sergio Lobero to take the top spot from Habas’s side. Mumbai picked up nine points from the first four matches, and its only defeat was recorded in the opening fixture. Lobero formed the team and added three successive victories. In the previous outing, they edged past Odisha 2-0 and kept the season's third clean sheet.
Odisha got an early opportunity in the first half from Diego Maurício's free-kick, but it didn’t convert into the scoring. A few minutes later, Mumbai earned a penalty from a handball inside the penalty box, and Bartholomew Ogbeche sent the ball to the left bottom corner to provide them an early lead. Before half-time, Rowllin Borges doubled the lead through a fine cross from Bipin. Lobero’s side extended the dominance, and Odisha failed to break the deadlock.
The Islanders is playing a different brand of football this season, and this newly-formed unit is among the favourites to win the title this year. With Adam le Fondre and Bartholomew Ogbeche in the forward-line, Mumbai has the best attack. They have conceded just one goal from four games, which came through a penalty in the first game. Fondre missed the last game, and Lobero went for the 4-2-3-1 formation. The former Goa forward, Hugo Boumous, provided the leadership in the attack, and his signing worked for Mumbai.
Meanwhile, Chennai’s campaign is not so convincing in 2020-21. The previous edition's finalist defeated Jamshedpur in the first game 2-1, and in the next two matches, they failed to score a goal. After sharing the spoils in a goalless draw with Kerala, Chennai lost against Bengaluru on Friday. Aashique Kuruniyan won the penalty for the Blues in the 56th minute, and Sunil Chhetri succeeds it with his first goal. Chennai’s poor show in the previous two outings is a big concern for Csaba Laszlo.
The extra reliability on Isma Goncalves cannot work for Chennai. Goncalves didn’t score in the last two matches, but still, he is a prominent signing for Csaba Laszlo. Vishal Kaith was effective as the goalkeeper. He made a crucial long-range save from a shot by Dimas Delgado. Jerry Lalrinzuala has also produced accurate crosses, and Laszlo would hope to see more spark from this Indian left-back. Anirudh Thapa left the ground in the first half due to an ankle injury. He might be out of the final XI and can miss one more game later in the week.
In head-to-head matches, Chennai has the edge over Mumbai. Mumbai last defeated Chennai in 2018, and they have lost six times in the previous 12 meetings. In 2019-20, Chennai had a glorious season, and Marina Machans won the most recent match 1-0.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Amrinder Singh; Mohammed Rakip, Mourtada Fall, Sarthak Golui, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy; Ahmed Jahouh, Rowllin Borges; Adam Le Fondre, Hugo Boumous, Bipin Singh; Bartholomew Ogbeche
Current Form –W W W L
Previous match: 2-0 victory against Odisha
Vishal Kaith; Reagan Singh, Eli Sabia, Enes Sipovic, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Anirudh Thapa, Deepak Tangri; Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, Rafael Crivellaro, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Jakub Sylvestr
Current Form: L D W
Previous outing: 1-0 defeat against Bengaluru
Adam le Fondre
20 goals in A-League 2019-20
3 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
2 assists in Indian Football League 2020-21
7 goals in Indian Football League 2019-20
1 goal in Indian Football League 2019-20