Mumbai City FC won their opening round clash against FC Pune City for the first time and tasted a rare away win in the Hero ISL. The win boosted the confidence of the entire squad and they are now looking to dethrone NorthEast United FC from the top. The visitors are on a high after registering two victories from their first two matches.
“We won against a very good team. This is always good because history tells us that Mumbai never won opening match. Also, we didn’t win away and we won the first game against a very tough team. Pune is one of the contenders (for the title) this season. That game is now behind us and from the next day, we started to focus on our second game. It’s always nice to start with a win. The confidence grows,” said Mumbai City coach Alexandre Guimaraes.
Mumbai will be up against a team which has won both their matches and Guimaraes admitted they have a mountain to climb. “They deserved to win the first two games and we will have to play even better and harder to win this game,” said the Costa Rican coach.
Much of the focus of fans during the opening game was on Mumbai City marquee Diego Forlan. The Uruguayan superstar is the biggest name this season and gave glimpses of what he brings to the team. It was his brilliant flick that created the only goal of the match but for Guimaraes, it was clear that opponents will not give him too much space to operate.
“We are trying to find solutions in offence and for Diego not to have all the responsibility to score. Our top scorer (Gaston Sangoy) during pre-season was injured which is bad for us. Then we are missing Sony (Norde) because of international matches. These are big guys for us but I think we managed well and tomorrow it will be another test for us to improve in that area,” said the Mumbai City coach.
NorthEast United are bristling with confidence after pocketing six points from the first two matches at home but coach Nelo Vingada is not taking anything for granted.
“For me tomorrow is the most important and also the most difficult game. I hope it’s a great promotion for the ISL. Three results can happen and we are here to make life hard for Mumbai. It won’t be easy for us but we will try to make things difficult for them,” said the Portuguese coach fondly called The Professor.
Vingada has coached in several countries around Asia and was pleased with what he saw in the Hero ISL so far.
“The first game in any league is always not the real game for both teams. It was not a great game for both sides. The best thing was the result. We deserved to win because we created many chances.
“The second game was a very good game in any league in Asia. Believe me, this game between NorthEast and Goa can be a good game in Korea, China, Japan, Iran or UAE. I was watching a league game from Emirates (on TV) and it was not better than our game. It was intense, very good opportunities for both teams to score and lot of emotions. We were lucky because we scored twice and the goalkeeper made a lot of good saves,” said Vingada.
NorthEast United defeated Kerala Blasters 1-0 in the opening game and then put it across FC Goa 2-0 in the second game.