Mumbai City FC vs FC Pune City Preview, Prediction and Live Stream Info
It is the second Maharashtra derby of the season, with Mumbai City getting their big guns back to the squad.
The arrival of four Bengaluru FC players is a “blessing” for Mumbai City FC, admitted coach Alexandre Guimaraes ahead of the Maharashtra derby of the Hero Indian Super League against FC Pune City at Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai, on Thursday. The four players, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Amrinder Singh and Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, were part of Bengaluru FC squad that made it to semi-finals of AFC Cup and have joined the squad.
They have already trained although the coach has not given them any assurances as yet. “We are glad to have them with us. That makes the group much bigger and gives me resources and possibilities to which players to start. At the end of the tournament, this is like a blessing for us,” said the Costa Rican coach.
Asked specifically, if any of them will be handed a starting role, Guimaraes was noncommittal, only mentioning that they are “hungry to be in the squad and be part of this Mumbai City season.”
Guimaraes could be tempted to hand Chhetri a place in the starting eleven for his team after striking rich form in the AFC Cup. Chhetri was also the leading goal scorer for Mumbai City last season and was involved in 50 percent of Mumbai City FC goals (8/16) in ISL 2015 (7 goals, 1 assist). “You never know what is going to happen in a derby. We are prepared to play the right game and try to win. The other team has changed a little bit, their approach, and know they cannot lose. That is the attraction that we have,” said the Mumbai City coach.
Mumbai City FC are leading the table with 15 points from nine matches but the Costa Rican coach said his team still has work to do before reaching their first target of making it to the top four. “We cannot fall into this trap that we are almost there. We have a good chance and we have to keep going,” said Guimaraes.
Mumbai City won their opening battle against Pune City in Pune but the visitors will now feel confident after scripting a good win against former champions Atletico de Kolkata. Pune City are lying seventh with nine points and will jump to the top four with full points. “After the last match, this group is good. The players are ready. After the match against ATK, the group is fantastic. Mumbai beat us in Pune. We will try to beat them tomorrow. We know it’s difficult but we will try,” said Pune City coach Antonio Habas.
Pune City haven’t lost an away match this season although their past suggests that they are yet to score a goal at Mumbai. It will be of concern for Habas that Pune City haven’t managed a single clean sheet this season and their run of 12 matches without a clean sheet is the longest any team has gone without a clean sheet in ISL history.
Mumbai City FC vs FC Pune Prediction
Pune City FC might not have lost a game away in the League yet, but the form and the return of Sunil Chhetri co suggest Mumbai City have the clear upper hand in the contest. We go for a 2-0 win to the hosts.