MATCH PREVIEW: MUMBAI CITY FC VS NORTHEAST UNITED FC

After a long wait – 425  minutes to be precise – Rafa  Jorda found his name on the scoresheet in Kolkata. His winner – a glancing header that found the far corner past Soram Poirei – meant that our fight for a spot in the play-offs is still alive with 3 games to go. In the first of the three games, we face Avram Grant’s NorthEast United FC tomorrow at the Mumbai Football Arena in an 8pm kick off.
In the current circumstances, Alexandre Guimaraes’ boys need to win all the remaining games and hope for other results to go in their favour to have any chance of making it past the league stage. The victory away in Kolkata certainly will have buoyed the squad and getting past a resurgent NorthEast United side will be the only focus.
Avram Grant’s side will be coming to Mumbai off the back of a rough patch, with a recent defeat to Kerala Blasters at home. A solitary goal from Wes Brown condemned the side from Guwahati to a fourth straight loss. With the absence of some key figures in the starting lineup, NorthEast United will be playing for pride with qualification seemingly out of their reach.

Where to watch it:
The game will kick off at 8pm IST and will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV for all viewers in India. For our global fans, you can find your broadcaster HERE. You can also follow live action on our official Twitter account - @MumbaiCityFC.

Team News:
Alexandre Guimaraes has indicated that a return for captain Lucian Goian coud be on the cards tomorrow after the defender trained well in the past couple of days. However, midfielder Leo Costa will face a late fitness test to determine his participation in tomorrow’s fixture. A lot of hopes will be resting on Leo’s chances as striker Balwant Singh will miss out due to suspension after collecting his 4th yellow card against ATK.
NorthEast United assistant coach Eelco Schattorie will be in the technical area tomorrow after head coach Avram Grant was sent to the stands in their previous encounter. Schattorie announced in the pre-match press conference that star striker Marcinho will miss out tomorrow along with defender Jose Goncalves. Holicharan Narzary and Sambinha are also concerns for NorthEast United FC.

History: 
This will be the 8th encounter between the two sides. The corresponding fixture last season was our first home win of the campaign. The Islanders emerged 1-0 winners vs the Highlanders courtesy a fine penalty from club icon Diego Forlan. The fixture was also the first ever game we’ve played at our current home, the Mumbai Football Arena.
The story, and the result, was similar when the two sides met in Guwahati in December earlier this season. A super brace from Balwant Singh sunk NorthEast United 2-0.

League Watch:
After the win in Kolkata, we move level on points with FC Goa, who play a crucial tie vs bottom placed Delhi Dynamos. The Goans will face FC Pune City later in the week while Kerala Blasters host Chennaiyin FC in the South Indian Derby. Jamshedpur FC face Bengaluru FC to wrap up the week in a new venue – the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar.

The other fixtures of the week are:
Wednesday, 21st February
FC Goa vs Delhi Dynamos FC (Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, 8pm)
Friday, 23rd February
Kerala Blasters FC vs Chennaiyin FC (Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, 8pm)
Saturday, 24th February
Delhi Dynamos FC vs ATK (Jawharlal Nehru Stadium, 8pm)
Sunday, 18th February
FC Pune City vs FC Goa (Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, 5.30pm)
Jamshedpur FC vs Bengaluru FC (Kalinga Stadium, 8pm)