I-L: Mumbai FC face Shillong Lajong
Mumbai FC hopes for a change in fortunes when they face Shillong Lajong FC in a must-win I-League Round 23 encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Sunday.
The game on the morrow will be crucial for both sides for separate reasons. For sixth placed Lajong (29 points), a win will help them move up into the third place while full points will help eleventh-placed Mumbai FC (21 pts) steer clear from the relegation zone.
Moreover, this will be the third time both teams face off against each other this season.
Back in October, Lajong ran out 3-2 winners in I-League at Pune, before another 4-0 win over Mumbai FC in the Federation Cup at Kochi in January. With Lajong winning the both the games, Mumbai FC will certainly seek revenge against their opponents on Sunday.
However, the game will not be an easy one for Mumbai FC as Lajong will be beaming with confidence after a 3-0 home win over leaders Bengaluru FC in the previous round.
Going into the match, the hosts will be banking heavily on the attacking duo of Trinidad and Tobago World Cupper Cornell Glenn along with Brazillian striker Uilliams Souza. The duo has contributed 17 out of Lajong's 28 goals this season.
Providing them support from the back will be the trio of Japanese medio Taisuke Matsugae, North Korean defender Minchol Son and winger Boithang Haokip.
On the other hand, Mumbai FC come into the game after coming from behind to hold Kolkata giants East Bengal to a 2-2 draw; something Coach Khalid Jamil was happy about and praised his team's attitude.
Despite the threat of relegation, Jamil is positive ahead of the game and was also happy to see veteran striker Yusif Yakubu getting on the scoresheet in back-to-back games.
The Ghanaian will definitely have a lot riding on his shoulders and will hope for support from fellow striker Alfred Jaryan along with the experienced trio of Nicholas Rodrigues, Climax Lawrence and Arash Hatifie.
Coach Jamil expects his backline led by Anwar Ali, Sandesh Jhingan and Ebi Sukore to hold firm after conceding goals too easily in the last few games.
Over the years both sides have face each other ten times with Lajong boasting of five wins compared to Mumbai FC's three. Thus a win on the morrow will help Mumbai FC to improve their record.
(Posted on 30-03-2014)