“It wasn’t pretty, but it’ll do just fine.”
The Islanders ran out 3-1 winners in a hard-fought battle against Bengaluru FC, winning a second game on the trot. With an eye on adding to that run, Des Buckingham’s Mumbai City will square off against second placed Jamshedpur FC tomorrow at the Fatorda Stadium with action kicking off at 7:30 PM.
Fresh off the back of a 5-1 rout, the Islanders started off strong against Bengaluru FC, scoring in the opening 10 minutes for the third time this season, with Igor Angulo finding the back of the net from the spot after Alan Costa handled the ball inside the area. Cleiton Silva’s sumptuous free-kick levelled scores but it was Mohammad Nawaz’s heroics on the stroke of half time, keeping out Sunil Chhetri’s penalty kick, that proved to be crucial for the Islanders. Mourtada Fall, as he always does, headed the Islanders into the lead from an Ahmed Jahouh freekick, before Ygor Catatau scored his second goal of the campaign coming off the bench to cap off a pragmatic yet comprehensive performance from Des Buckingham’s side.
Jamshedpur FC are the only side unbeaten in the 2021/22 ISL so far, and there’s good reason to it. The Red Miners, under the tutelage of Owen Coyle for a second season running, have shown that they are a well-drilled unit on the pitch. Recruiting well in the off season, Jamshedpur FC have roped in the likes of a young Komal Thatal, an experienced Eli Sabia and a prolific Greg Stewart who joins Jamshedpur fresh off a title-winning campaign in Scotland with Rangers under Steven Gerrard. These three, along with the rest of the squad, have proven their mettle with two wins and two draws from four games so far, including notable wins against FC Goa and ATK Mohun Bagan.
Tomorrow’s encounter puts two British head coaches and their philosophies under the spotlight – a young manager with an exciting brand of football versus an old hand who’s been at the top echelons of the game and whose sides show character, personality and know how to get the job done. And in the context of the challenge at hand – first versus second on the table – could it get any more exciting?
Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, who continues to work towards his return from an ankle injury, will miss out on tomorrow’s action.
Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle has slated Len Doungel to miss out tomorrow with an ankle injury suffered in their previous game against ATK Mohun Bagan. Mobashir Rahman is expected to recover in the days to come, along with Jordan Murray who is returning to full fitness with some minutes under his belt.
Who said what:
Des Buckingham: "Their strengths, we watched the other night. Their work rate is unbelievable. We have to at least match that, if not better it, to make sure we could start at a level footing. They have quality across the pitch that we need to be aware of."
Raynier Fernandes: "We've started the season well. We came in with a plan and the first result showed that. We performed well in the second game, but couldn't get the points. It was important to make a strong comeback in the next two and we want to keep the momentum."
Where to watch it:
The game will kick off at 7.30pm 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.
6 Dec: Jamshedpur FC 2-1 ATK Mohun Bagan (Len 37’, Lima 84’; Kotal 88’)
7 Dec: SC East Bengal 3-4 FC Goa (Perosevic 26’, 59’, Dervisevic 37’; Noguera 14’, 79’, Ortiz 32’ P, Perosevic 44’ OG)
Fixtures coming up:
8 Dec: Hyderabad FC vs Bengaluru FC (GMC Bambolim; 7.30pm)
9 Dec: Mumbai City vs Jamshedpur FC (Fatorda Stadium; 7.30pm)
10 Dec: Odisha FC vs NorthEast United FC (Tilak Maida; 7.30pm)