Fresh off the back of two stunning wins on the road in Bangalore and Jamshedpur, the Islanders have been breaking barriers against the best in the league. But there is only one record waiting to be set straight in Mumbai City’s agenda – getting that elusive home win.
The Islanders are back home for the final game of 2019 and up against Jorge Costa’s side are bottom-of-the-table Hyderabad FC. The action kicks off tomorrow one final time in this calendar year at the Mumbai Football Arena at 7.30 pm.
After a memorable win in Bengaluru, the Islanders overcame a different kind of a test in Jamshedpur, beating the hosts 2-1 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex. The Islanders took the lead through Paulo Machado’s freekick that uncannily snuck into the near post beating the defenders and Subrata Pal in goal. Tiri’s thumping header brought the Red Miners level right before half-time but the Islanders had other plans. A largely cagey game otherwise turned on its head when Modou Sougou set up Raynier Fernandes from 20 yards out. The Mumbai-born lad sent a scorcher flying into the top corner past Subrata to win the game for the Islanders.
Jorge Costa’s well-drilled unit has been flawless away from home but they haven’t been able to make a dent in their own backyard yet. After going down 4-2 to first Odisha FC and then FC Goa in the opening two home encounters, the Islanders only managed a draw against Kerala Blasters and are yet to pick up a first home win.
Despite being bottom in the Hero ISL standings, Hyderabad FC come in off the back of two-spirited performances but haven’t had the results to show for it. But as they say, a wounded tiger is always the most dangerous, the Islanders will be wary of the quality Phil Brown’s side will bring to Mumbai tomorrow.
Focus: Hyderabad FC
Hero ISL debutants Hyderabad FC made their bow in India’s premier division this season. The Nizams as they’re fondly known, continued from where FC Pune City left off after the Pune outfit shut shop at the end of the 2018-19 season amidst financial difficulties. A large chunk of the FCPC roster joined the newly-formed outfit along with head coach Phil Brown who moved with the playing squad, joining HFC on a two-year term.
The new franchise retained Marcelinho and Marko Stankovic from FCPC’s foreign roster and brought back former Pune man Rafa Lopez back into the fold. Joining Lopez in defence is Englishman Matthew Killgallon. Among the other foreign recruits for Hyderabad are A-League icon Bobo who joined the attack for the Nizams along with Giles Barnes and I-League champion Nestor Gordillo, making the move from Chennai City FC.
Tasked with changing the fortunes of the club, the Englishman has enjoyed very little success in the 2019-20 campaign and are languishing at the foot of the table in 10th place. But one would be foolish enough to write them off just by looking at the table. The Nizams seems to be a side that is still finding its footing and if there last two performances are anything to go by, they’re not very far.
Form Guide (Last Five Games)
Mumbai City FC: D-D-D-W-W
Hyderabad FC: L-D-L-L-D
In a major hit to the Islanders’ camp, midfielder Paulo Machado has been ruled out of action ‘for a while’ by Jorge Costa owing to an injury the Portuguese picked up in Jamshedpur. Rowllin Borges will be in the stands for tomorrow’s action after the midfielder picked up his fourth caution. There remains a doubt over the involvement of Amine Chermiti who suffered a nasty head injury in Jamshedpur but Costa has assured that the forward is doing well.
For the first time, this season, Phil Brown and Hyderabad FC will have the luxury of having all 7 foreigners at their disposal. The English head coach expressed his delight at having Rafa Lopez back from injury and having an empty treatment room.
Who Said What:
Jorge Costa: The game against Hyderabad is an important one. They are a good team and their position in the table doesn't reflect their quality.
Raynier Fernandes: I'm working hard on my fitness and trying to do well in training. I'm pushing for my spot in the playing 11. That is all I can focus on individually.
Amrinder Singh: We need to improve our home form. The key to any good team is to be solid in their own backyard and we intend to do that starting tomorrow.
Where to watch it
The game will kick off at 7.30 pm 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 follow all the action LIVE on our official Twitter account - @MumbaiCityFC.
Chennaiyin FC 3-4 FC Goa (Schembri 57’, Crivellaro 59’, 90’ Jahouh 26’, Brandon 41’, Boumous 45’, Coro 63’)
Odisha FC 2-1 Jamshedpur FC (Aridane 28’, 45’ Monroy 38’ P)
Fixtures coming up:
28 Dec: Kerala Blasters FC vs NorthEast United FC (Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi 7.30 pm)
29 Dec: Mumbai City FC vs Hyderabad FC (Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai 7.30 pm)
2 Jan: NorthEast United FC vs Jamshedpur FC (Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati 7.30 pm)