Following a tense 1-1 draw at Kochi last time out, can the Islanders prevail against their local rivals on Friday?
It is the game in which all Mumbai and Pune fans look for when the fixtures are released – but who will earn the bragging rights on Friday?
In what promises to be a fantastic spectacle on Friday evening, Mumbai City host local rivals FC Pune City at the Mumbai Football Arena in the Indian Super League, with both side eyeing first win of the season.
Both clubs trying to jump the queue
The first Maha Derby of the season is upon us and it promises to be an engaging battle between the host Mumbai City FC and the neighboring FC Pune City. Neither team will settle for anything less than a victory and the bragging rights that come along with it when they face each other in the Hero Indian Super League on Friday at Mumbai Football Arena.
Interestingly, Pune City’s last league win came in this same fixture against Mumbai City last season. The Stallions had won the home tie 1-0 before travelling to Mumbai to seal the bragging rights with a 2-0 win. In fact, the Islanders have not won any of their previous three matches against the Stallions at home.
Jorge Costa will demand more from his foreign contingent on Friday after managing only a loss and a draw against Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters respectively in their opening two games.
Mumbai fear the Marcelinho
The likes Paulo Machado, Arnold Issoko and Rafael Bastos will have a huge role to play if they are to overcome a Pune City side which possesses a fearsome attack which has been boosted by the return of Marcelinho.
Marcelinho is a seasoned campaigner whose individual brilliance and ability to score regularly will be a thorn for any defence to deal with. When Emiliano Alfaro’s sheer work rate and Diego Carlos’ flair from the wings are added to the mix, Pune City’s attack turns extremely potent.
Marcelinho and Alfaro are without doubt a lethal combination. The pair scored 17 of Pune Cityâ€™s 31 goals last season – a whopping 54.84 per cent of the teamâ€™s tally.
Marcelinho missed Pune’s opener due to a suspension and his absence was dearly felt. The Stallions struggled in the attacking third and were dominated by Delhi Dynamos. Moreover, whenever the 31-year-old has scored a goal, Pune City have not lost a game.
Protecting the hosts’ backline against Marcelinho & co. will be Lucian Goian who has been the lone bright spot in an otherwise average Mumbai City defence.
Both teams come into this match with a similar fashions. The fact both teams have strong attacks and deficiencies at the back suggest this should be an open and entertaining clash but both managers will be keen to improve their sideâ€™s solidity going forwards.
The battle between Mumbaiâ€™s defence and Puneâ€™s attack should turn out to be the defining battle in this match. The match-up also sees Costaâ€™s pragmatic approach come up against a possession-based style of Miguel Portugal.Â With both sides chasing their first win of the season, the Maha Derby has plenty at stake for the fans, players and the coaches.
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Source: Matchday Frolics