I-League: Mumbai to battle for top division survival in Maharashtra derby

The home team is still in danger of missing the next edition of the premier football league of the country and will been keen on preventing relegation with a win over this season’s newcomers DSK Shivajians.

Mumbai players will be hoping to come good in the final day of I-League 2015-16 season.   -  I-League Media

Mumbai FC and its Maharashtra state rivals, DSK Shivajians from Pune, are approaching their final I-League game of the season here tomorrow with starkly different goals in front of them.

The home team is still in danger of missing the next edition of the premier football league of the country and will been keen on preventing relegation with a win over this season’s newcomers DSK Shivajians.

I-League debutants Shivajians has no such concern as it will be saved from that ignominy for the first three years of the competition irrespective of where it finishes on the points table.

Both can qualify for the new-look Federation Cup, which commences on April 30, if they finish in the top eight out of the nine-team league, which will be Shivajians’ current focus.

Presently, the Shivajians, with 15 points, is sandwiched at the bottom of the table between seventh-placed Mumbai FC (16 points) and ninth-placed Shillong Lajong FC (15).

Shivajians’ coach Derrick Pereira said today ahead of the game that the team was aiming at qualifying for the Fed Cup which is to be played on a home and away knock-out basis.

“It’s a very important match for us as we want to figure in the Federation Cup and only the top eight in the league will qualify,” he said.

“It took some time for us to get going in this (debut) season. We struggled in the first half, but in the second leg we had good matches. It augurs well for the next season,” said Pereira.

Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil said his team was focused only on tomorrow’s game.

“It’s a very important match for us. We want a positive result. They are a solid team. Things started going wrong for us from the time we lost to them (0-1 in first leg on February 7). The pressure is now there to avoid relegation,” he said.

Mumbai FC, having collected 8 points from their opening 4 games, found a sudden slump in form and could gather only 5 points in the next 10 games.

While Shivajians will miss the services of defender Haroon Amiri, as he had picked up four yellow cards and will sit out, all the players are available to play for Mumbai FC.

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