I-L: Mumbai FC to face Pune FC

Pune, Dec 6 : Mumbai FC take on state-rivals Pune FC in the season's first 'Maha-Derby' at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune on Saturday.

The I-League round-13 encounter hosted by second-placed Pune FC (19 pts) will have ninth-placed Mumbai FC (11 pts) playing as the away side.

Mumbai FC go into the game on a high after securing their first home win of the season defeating mighty East Bengal 3-2 at the Balewadi Stadium earlier in the week.

The win was Mumbai FC's second of the season and was spearheaded by new-signing striker Yusif Yakubu. The Ghanaian who joined recently hit the ground running and Coach Khalid Jamil expects him to lead from the front.

Mumbai FC, however, will need the defense to step up and put up a solid performance after letting in easy goals against East Bengal and letting them back into the game.

Other new loan-signings have settled in well and the coach expects the experienced players to step up and take more responsibility.

On the team news front, there will be one change in the matchday squad. With Afghan medio Ahmad Arash Hatifie suspended after his sending off against East Bengal, midfielder James Singh comes in.

In the recent past, Mumbai FC have had a forgettable run in the derby having lost the last three consecutive games at the Balewadi Stadium while letting in three goals.

Over the years, Mumbai FC have logged two wins compared to Pune FC's four in nine games in all competitions so far. Improving this record will definitely be on the Mumbai FC's mind as they gear up to win bragging rights.

--IBNS (Posted on 06-12-2013)

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