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ISL 2017/18: NorthEast United aim to dash Mumbai City FC’s playoff hopes

Aryan Surve
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
184   //    22 Feb 2018, 19:02 IST
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NorthEast will want to extinguish Mumbai’s top four hopes.

Mumbai City FC welcome NorthEast United FC at the Mumbai Football Arena in ISL 2017/18 on Thursday. The Islanders managed to keep their playoff hopes alive even after two consecutive defeats, thanks to a victory over defending champions ATK in their last fixture.

Nothing less than a win would do for them against NorthEast, however, as they look to take advantage of their opponents’ indifferent form. The Highlanders have yet again missed out on making the playoffs, an outcome that doesn’t come as a surprise considering they picked up just one point from their last six fixtures.

They head into the contest on the back of four consecutive defeats and with nothing but pride to play for, NorthEast will want to end their campaign on a high and perhaps even extinguish Mumbai’s top four hopes as well.

HEAD TO HEAD

Mumbai City FC 4 – 2 NorthEast United FC (1 Draw)

KEY PLAYERS

Thiago Santos (Mumbai City FC)

The Brazilian has been one of the Islanders’ go-to men in attack this season. He has used his pace and tenacity to good effect and has shown great goal-scoring instincts. Thiago has been clinical when it comes to finishing and has five goals as well as an assist to his name. The 22-year-old will be an important figure in Mumbai’s bid to bag all three points against NorthEast.

Seiminlen Doungel (NorthEast United FC)

The 24-year-old has given the immense edge to the Highlanders’ attack. He has taken the flanks by storm, using his speed and dribbling ability to outfox opponents. Doungel remains the only Indian so far this season to net a hat-trick and will look to bag some more goals when his team visits Mumbai on Thursday.

POTENTIAL STARTING LINEUPS

Mumbai City FC

Alexandre Guimaraes may opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation that offers them options both in attack and defence.

Goalkeeper: Amrinder Singh

Defenders: Raju Gaikwad, Marcio Rozario, Gerson Vieira, Sehnaj Singh

Midfielders: Sahil Tavora, Achille Emana, Sanju Pradhan, Abinash Ruidas, Thiago Santos

Forward: Rafa Jorda

Mumbai head coach Alexandre Guimaraes on his side’s do-or-die encounter against NorthEast: “First of all, it’s good to be alive (in the competition). Still knowing that we have a chance, we have to end up playing even better to try to win tomorrow against a team who have played well but don’t have a chance. I also hope that tomorrow, finally, we can win a game at home, which for us decides the importance of continuing the fight, and especially for our fans.”

NorthEast United FC

Avram Grant will probably counter with his own 4-2-3-1 formation as the Highlanders look to drag Mumbai out of playoff contention along with them.

Goalkeeper: TP Rehenesh

Defenders: Nirmal Chettri, Jose Goncalves, Sambinha, Reagan Singh

Midfielders: John Mosquera, Rowllin Borges, Seiminlen Doungel, Maic Sema, Halicharan Narzary

Forward: Danilo Lopes

Highlanders’ assistant coach Eelco Schattorie on the game against Mumbai: “Obviously, it’s difficult to prepare for a game when we cannot qualify. It is difficult to motivate the players but at the same time, we didn’t have issues regarding that. Then we have injuries and suspensions. This morning we had some injuries that make it very difficult to form a team. So overall, it is a difficult preparation. Moreover, our opponents Mumbai, whom I saw in some of the games, are not very consistent in the way they play their formations. That makes it more difficult to prepare for the game.”

KEY STAT

  • The Highlanders have lost the most number of matches this season (11)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

NorthEast United FC 0 – 2 Mumbai FC (20th December 2017 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati)

FORM GUIDE: (Last five matches)

Mumbai City FC: W L L W L

NorthEast United: L L L L D

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Aryan Surve
CONTRIBUTOR
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