ISL 2022-23 Shield winners Mumbai City FC will look to end the league stages on a high note when they host East Bengal at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday, February 19.
The Islanders have had their best campaign in the ISL, with Des Buckingham instilling an attacking approach that has entertained the Mumbai crowd. They have won 14 games this season, scoring 54 goals in the process while conceding 20.
After an outstanding season, they will be presented with the trophy following their game against East Bengal.
However, the English tactician will be disappointed that his side botched their invincible record. They performed poorly against Bengaluru FC as the Blues dominated the game and secured all three points with a 2-1 win.
Momentum could be a key factor going into the semi-finals, so Mumbai City FC will look to bounce back and put on an improved display in front of their supporters.
Meanwhile, their opponents, East Bengal, have improved in recent weeks. However, they are now in a fight to keep hold of eighth position as Jamshedpur FC are level on points after their 3-2 victory over Hyderabad FC.
While Mumbai City FC were on the right end of the results, East Bengal have struggled in both home and away games. Last time out, Chennaiyin FC secured a comfortable 2-0 victory over the Red and Gold Brigade at the Marina Arena.
Stephen Constantine will look to rotate his side and provide opportunities for the youngsters. Meanwhile, Buckingham will hope his senior players can pick up their form after suffering a dip in their previous three games.
Mumbai City FC vs East Bengal: Team News
The hosts have a couple of injuries to deal with. Greg Stewart missed the previous game, while Rahul Bheke has not featured since their victory over NorthEast United FC last month. However, the Islanders' skipper is in contention to start against East Bengal.
Meanwhile, the Red and Gold Brigade also have a few injury concerns. Ivan Gonzalez is sidelined, while Alex Lima is a doubt for this game. Furthermore, Mohammad Rakip might replace Sarthak Golui in the full-back position.
Mumbai City FC vs East Bengal: Predicted Lineup
Mumbai City FC: Phurba Lachenpa; Sanjeev Stalin, Rostyn Griffiths, Mehtab Singh, Mandar Rao Dessai; Apuia, Ahmed Jahouh; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Alberto Nogeura, Bipin Singh; Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
East Bengal: Kamaljit Singh; Mohammad Rakip, Lalchungnunga, Charalambos Kyriakou, Jerry Lalrinzuala; VP Suhair, Mobashir Rahman, Jordan O’Doherty, Naorem Mahesh Singh; Jake Jervis, Cleiton Silva.
Mumbai City FC vs East Bengal: Prediction
On paper, the Islanders certainly boast a better squad, especially in terms of squad depth, but they have been exposed at the back in recent weeks. Cleiton Silva and Jake Jervis are more than capable of troubling their defenders.
However, the home side will look to show their quality in front of their home support before lifting the Shield. This could drive them to put in an improved display on Sunday.
Prediction: Mumbai City 3-1 East Bengal.