FC Goa will welcome Mumbai City FC at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa as we approach the business end of the 2022/23 ISL League Stage. Mumbai City sit at the top of the table with 43 points in 17 games, while FC Goa are placed fifth on the table with 27 points in 17 games. Both teams are coming off hotly contested draws and will be eager to assert themselves. The teams will face off on the 11th of February at 5.30pm IST.
Following a gruelling encounter against Hyderabad FC that saw the top 2 teams in the league table locked in a 1-1 draw, the Islanders will strive to maintain their undefeated campaign so far. Des Buckingham's side have beenin stellar form this season and a victory against the Gaurs will bring them tantalisingly close to securing the League WInners' Shield.
For FC Goa, a playoff spot hangs in the balance as Carlos Peña's side are looking to secure their place in the top 6. Currently sitting in fifth place, the race for the playoffs are heating up with five clubs vying for four spots and are separated by 7 points only. In their previous fixture, FC Goa shared points with fellow playoff contenders Odisha FC following a 1-1 draw.
Des Buckingham in the pre match press conference spoke about the team’s approach to the game and reiterated the importance of following the process and approaching each game on its own. He said, “We have only got three games left. They're all going to be as important as each other. It's not just about trying to pick up a result in this game. We want to try and finish the season as strong as we possibly can. But to do that, we must make sure we prepare as well as we can, and we have done that again this week and we still have two more days' worth of training. We've shown through the whole season that if we just keep looking at the next game and we keep trying to prepare ourselves as well as we can, then the performances are hopefully as good as we can play. We need to trust that it turns into results, but we're prepared as well as we can. “
Buckingham further added that the team is looking forward to playing in Goa. Last year Goa hosted the ISL due to a pandemic induced bio-secure bubble and therefore had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the environment. “We are really looking forward to playing in Goa, we spent nearly six months there and we are most familiar with the city besides Mumbai. The staff and people welcomed us and really looked after us, so it’s good to be back and I am expecting a very good game.”
The young Mumbai City defender Mehtab Singh also accompanied Buckingham for the pre match media briefing as he spoke about his stop-start season last year due to injury and provided insight on his development this season. “Last season it was a bit on and off, due to injury, but this season I have been training very hard. During the off season as well, I have been working on my game. The coaches and staff have been helping with my training since pre season on various components of my game, whether it is attack or defence, or playing with both feet.”
Coach Buckingham has been spotted across various stadiums watching ISL encounters when Mumbai City are not playing. Most recently he was in Odisha for the home team’s encounter against FC Goa. He concluded the press conference by speaking about the same, “I watch all of the games on TV, but when you go to the stadium, you see everything, you see the whole team rather than just what the TV screen shows you. So, if you have the opportunity, I feel it's my job to go and do that. Because I feel that gives us a little bit more information on top of the really good work that our analysts are able to put together to prepare us for the week ahead. It's just a spill on effect from a lot of the work that goes unseen at this club, not just by myself.”
Ahmed Jahouh will return to action after serving a one match suspension, as will Greg Stewart who has trained fully following a minor injury that kept him on the bench against Hyderabad FC.
Where To Watch
The game will kick off at 5:30 pm IST and will be broadcast live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar, and Jio TV for all viewers in India. For our global fans, you can download the OneFootball app, find your broadcaster at indiansuperleague.com/