Chennaiyin FC v Mumbai City: Injury worries in both camps

Defending champion Chennaiyin FC takes on high-flying Mumbai City FC in a clash that will see a number of key players missing from both sides.

Chennaiyin FC players during a training session at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.   -  ISL

Mumbai City FC and host Chennaiyin FC have been hit by injuries to key players ahead of their match in Chennai.

Marco Materazzi confirmed that his side will be without the services of influential midfielder Hans Mulder, who picked up an injury in the match against Kerala Blasters, and marquee signing John Arne Riise. While the Mumbai City coach, Alexandre Guimaraes, did not name the players who would be missing the match against Chennaiyin FC, he hoped to have at least '80% of his team' fit to play.

India international Pronay Halder of Mumbai FC is set to miss the rest of the ISL season after failing to recover from a hamstring injury he sustained in the match against FC Goa.

Guimaraes was not worried too much about injuries to his players though, and he promised that his side will be ready for the showdown with Chennaiyin tomorrow. Incidentally, Mumbai City FC has never beaten Chennaiyin.

"I do not know how many scoring chances we can make tomorrow. But what I am sure is our players are getting more and more clear on the way we have to play, no matter what opponent we have, whether at home or away," said Guimaraes at the pre-match press conference.

Mumbai City FC comes into the game after a week's break, while Chennaiyin will be playing its second match in five days. But Guimaraes refused to take anything for granted.

"We have used these days to recharge our batteries. But we have great respect for the champion side. We respect them and the conditions they are in. You might think they aren't performing up to expectations. But I think they are playing well. They are adjusting. Some of the key players are not in the squad for this edition, but Chennaiyin is fighting to be in the last four and qualify for the playoffs. To get points tomorrow, we have to play very well," said Guimaraes.

Materazzi: 'Chennai missing Mendoza'

Chennaiyin has found it difficult to break defences this season, having scored only seven goals in six matches. Materazzi admitted that he is missing last season's top scorer Stiven Mendoza, who left the club to play for the MLS team, New York City FC.

"We have lacked some quality in attack since Mendoza is not with our team. I am sure if he had come to India he would have joined us," said Materazzi.

But the Italian World Cup winner dismissed the idea that his team was lacking in fluidity and attributed the lack of goals to the League's increasing standards.

"The quality of the tournament has gone up. That is perhaps the reason for so many drawn games this edition. We haven't also created chances because, against Kerala we lost Mulder in the first half. We were the better team in the first half while they dominated the second," he said.

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