ISL: Struggling NorthEast faces in-form Mumbai City FC

NorthEast United FC will be looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats,when it faces an in-from Mumbai City FC.

Diego Forlan penalty was the difference when these two sides last met.   -  Sportzpics

NorthEast United FC will be looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats,when it faces an in-from Mumbai City FC. Two successive losses at home, against Chennaiyin FC and Atletico de Kolkata here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, have seen the host slump to the fifth position after ruling the top for a record 25 days.

NorthEast United coach Nelo Vingada harped on luck and a greater effort from his players to get back the position, which would happen only if the team wins in its fifth outing on the home turf. Injury problems and a misfiring attack-line has been one of the major reasons bothering the host while the visitor is looking to scale the rungs with new found form and enthusiasm generated around the presence of its star marquee player Diego Forlan.

>Read:Vingada asks for extra effort, Guimaraes seeks consistency >

Mumbai City’s rise to prominence has been generated by its performance in the last two ‘away’ matches where it picked up four points from a win (against Atletico de Kolkata) and a draw (with Chennaiyin FC). Even after crossing the half-way stage, the league is still evenly balanced with only six points separating the top and bottom placed teams. This is a big indication of how the teams have oriented themselves to defensive strategies preferring not to play pressing football.

Mumbai may have the advantage here with an international star striker like Forlan inspiring it to play more offensive. The Uruguayan World Cupper, though a lot slowed down compared to his prime playing days, inspires the creative aspect of Mumbai’s game which is further whetted by the presence of the Haitian Sony Norde, Brazilian Leo Costa, Hungarian Krisztian Vadocz and Argentine Matias Defederico, who is a doubtful starter due to injury.

Mumbai’s Costa Rican coach Alexandre Guimaraes drew strength from the consistency his side has shown since the start. The Mumbai side, which is currently tied on top of the standings with Atletico de Kolkata on 12 points, has never dropped out of the top half of the league standings so far. This has happened chiefly for the shape and form Guimaraes’ boys have shown in the away matches, where the team picked up eight points from two wins and two draws from five matches.

For Vingada the main worry has been in the offensive area where Uruguayan Emiliano Alfaro finds himself alone. Argentine Noclas Velez is nursing an injury while the doughty Costa Rican Romaric, who is another key man in the central midfield, is also not in the best of fitness. Given the situation Vingada, who had lost to Mumbai by Forlan’s penalty earlier, will have to string together a side that could sustain the pressure of Mumbai’s onslaughts while creating opportunities for itself to regain the winning form.