ISL 2019-20: Chennaiyin FC seeks first win on home return against Mumbai City

After the thrashing at the hands of FC Goa in the first game week, Chennaiyin FC will aim to register its maiden win of the season against Mumbai City.

An improved display will be expected of Lucian Goian after he struggled on his Chennaiyin debut against Mumbai City.

Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champion Chennaiyin FC will face its first home test of the season when it hosts Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.

The home side's campaign began in bitter fashion as it slipped to a 3-0 loss at FC Goa but head coach John Gregory, in his third season with the club, is hopeful of a winning start at home. “The ISL comes quick and you have to pick up results quickly. I made three changes against FC Goa and the boys that came on did very well. I might make one or two changes against Mumbai. I can bring in two more foreigners who did not start the FC Goa game. Tomorrow (Sunday) is a good opportunity to pick up a win,” he said at the pre-match conference.

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Chennaiyin's defence endured a troublesome evening as it struggled to contain FC Goa's attack led by Ferran Corominas, while the attackers had a couple of decent chances. Romanian striker Dragos Firtulescu had a great chance to open the scoring when he was brought down in the box in what appeared to be a clear penalty, but much to Gregory's angst the referee saw no foul.

“It was unbelievable that penalty call (Dragos). It was a clear cut penalty. It was unbelievable that the referee and the linesman did not make the decision. If that referee made that decision in Europe, he would be demoted to the fifth tier and would never referee a game again at the top level. In India, however, he will probably referee again this weekend. The standard of refereeing needs to improve,” the Englishman rued.

Gregory lambasted the refereeing decision in Chennaiyin's defeat to FC Goa earlier this week. Photo: M. Vedhan

 

Dragos, on the other hand, is eager to score his first goal in Chennaiyin colours. “I'm an attacking midfielder and can play anywhere in midfield. I feel better in the right but I will do what the coach asks of me...even if I have to play as a goalkeeper,” he said while adding that he was eager to impress and give the fans something to cheer about on the occasion of Diwali.

Mumbai City coach Jorge Costa, whose team comes on the back of a hard-fought win over Kerala Blasters, said he was wary of the home team. “We played Chennaiyin in the pre-season and I saw their first game. That's why I say we have a very difficult game tomorrow. I still haven't decided what to do (strategy), but we will fight for three points,” he said.

Chennaiyin will miss Jeje Lalpekhlua due to a long-term injury and Germanpreet Singh is on personal leave. Mumbai City will be without centre-back Mato Grgic, while midfielder Paulo Machado's participation remains doubtful.

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