If it was the glitz and glamour of the cinema world last time, tonight will see the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai erupt in cheers for their adopted son, MS Dhoni. The Indian cricket captain has already tweeted that he will be there cheering his troops - Chennaiyin FC on, as they take on Mumbai City FC. Both sides come into this game on the back of convincing losses. Chennai were trounced 4-1 by the Delhi Dynamos and Mumbai were rather insipid in their 2-0 reverse against NorthEast United.
Both teams will be looking to bounce back, and get back to winning ways. More so, Chennai, because they play their next three games at home, and it will be imperative to take advantage of playing in their own backyard.
Venue and Kick off
The 40,000 seater Nehru Stadium in Chennai will once again be buzzing with activity. Chennaiyin FC captain Bojan Djordjic and manager Marco Materazzi have already praised the vocal nature of the Chennai faithful, and the players will look to put on a performance that brings smiles to their fans.
Kick Off time: 7pm IST
Chennai's assistant manager Vivek Nagul addressed the press yesterday along with midfielder Harmanjot Khabra , and reaffirmed the management's faith in their rearguard, despite conceding four against Delhi. Right back Abhishek Das remains ruled out after the injury that he suffered against Kerala Blasters.
Khabra, for his part, acknowledged that he had a poor outing against Delhi. He also said that that game is now a thing of the past and it was important to focus on the task at hand.
The Brazilian, Elano has been splendid for Chennai, and alongside Djordjic and Khabra, he will form the fulcrum of the Chennai side.
Probable XI: Gennaro Bracigliano, Gouramangi Singh, Bernard Mendy, Mikael Silvestre, Dhanachandra Singh, Bojan Djordjic, Denson Devadas, Harmanjot Khabra, Elano, John Stiven Mendoza, Balwant Singh
Mumbai City FC
Manager Peter Reid confirmed to the media yesterday, that Nicolas Anelka is in contention to start. Describing him as a consummate professional, Reid said that Anelka's training has been first class. Syed Rahim Nabi, Mumbai’s captain is fit after recovering from his injury. Mumbai have been highly inconsistent so far, with the high of a 5-0 drubbing of FC Pune sandwiched between two convincing losses to Atletico de Kolkata and NorthEast United.
Elano will surely test Mumbai's defense. A defense that will be without the suspended Czech Pavel Cmovs. And Reid was mindful of the Elano factor, and said that it was important that Mumbai didn't commit silly fouls.
Freddie Ljungberg has not travelled to Chennai, staying back in Mumbai to undergo further tests on his injury. Reid also confirmed that the influential Andre Moritz would be fit and that he had no qualms about the influential midfielder lasting 90 minutes.
Probable XI: Subrata Pal, Johan Letzelter, Manuel Friedrich, Johan Letzelter, Tiao Ribeiro, Jan Stohanzl, Andre Moritz, Syed Rahim Nabi, Lalrindika Ralte, Nicolas Anelka, Subhash Singh
Elano vs Jan Stohanzl
Stohanzl has been steady in midfield for Mumbai and it will probably be his responsibility to ensure that Elano is kept quiet. Blessed with a silken touch and wonderful technique, Elano is capable of making any defense sway to his tunes, and Stohanzl will have to have a big game for Mumbai if they are to shut the Brazilian out.
Bernard Mendy and Mikael Silvestre vs Nicolas Anelka
Peter Reid all but confirmed that Anelka would start this game. It is a mouthwatering prospect that Anelka will go up against his countrymen in Mendy and Silvestre. In Chennai's first two games, Mendy and Silvestre were rock solid, but it all unraveled against Delhi.
Set-piece defending has been a concern for Chennai, and the two Frenchmen at the heart of their defense will have to step up if Chennai are to rectify that fault. If they don't, then Anelka will be waiting to pounce at the slightest of opportunities.
Two evenly matched sides who are desperate to bounce back. Maybe the fear of losing will supersede the will to win.
Chennaiyin FC 1-1 Mumbai City FCPublished 28 Oct 2014, 16:23 IST