Injury-hit Mumbai take on Aizawl in battle of lower half

Mumbai, sixth on the table, have struggled in their last few games because of injuries to key players — defender Min-Chol Son and half backs Taisuke Matsugae and Izumi Arata.

Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil said that the club needs to win all the home games (three matches).   -  Prashant Nakwe

Injury-hit Mumbai FC take on Aizawl FC in the return leg clash of the two teams placed in the bottom half of the I-League football table here tomorrow at the Cooperage ground.

Mumbai, sixth on the table, have struggled in their last few games because of injuries to key players — defender Min-Chol Son and half backs Taisuke Matsugae and Izumi Arata.

The trio is still in doubt to play the game against the north eastern side, who had beaten Mumbai 2-0 in the first leg.

“All three trained separately today and with the others for ten minutes. We will take a call on them tomorrow.

Also on the injured list is (defender) Allan Dias,” said Mumbai coach Khalid Jamil on the eve of the match.

Another player who will not take the field for Mumbai would be their stand-in captain (for Matsugae) N.P. Pradeep following the double-booking in the previous drawn (2-2) encounter against Sporting Clube de Goa.

The home side was forced to play with ten men in the second half and escaped with a draw. Jamil said had eleven men were available Mumbai would have won the match.

Conceding that injuries to some players had been a big setback for the team, Jamil said that the team should shed its complacency, a trait they showed in the second half to lose to Aizawl, placed one rung below the hosts, in the away game.

“We have to win all our home games (three remaining). We have to play well and be positive (attack). We have to push forward,” said Jamil.

One of the keenly anticipated battles would be waged by Liberian cousins — Eric Brown of Mumbai and the visiting team’s striker Alfred Jarian.

“We are childhood friends and born in the same month within a few days of each other,” said Alfred.

Brown took up the central medio’s role with aplomb against Sporting and is expected to be used in the same position against Aizawl.

“They were a bit complacent in the first leg which gave us a chance to penetrate. Now they will be more wary of us,” said Aizawl’s coach Jahar Das.