ISL 2020-21 news: Mandar Rao Dessai set to become first player with 100 ISL appearances

ISL 2020: Former FC Goa player Mandar Rao Dessai began his career as a winger before slotting into the full-back's role.

Mandar Rao Dessai

Mandar Rao Dessai pictured during a Mumbai City FC training session.   -  ISL Media

Mumbai City FC defender Mandar Rao Dessai will become the first player ever to feature in 100 Indian Super League games when his side takes on SC East Bengal at the GMC Stadium on Tuesday.

The former FC Goa player, having made 97 ISL appearances for the Gaurs in the first six seasons, moved to Mumbai before the start of the ongoing edition of the tournament.

Mandar, who has played for Bengaluru FC in the I-League as well, expressed his delight ahead of the milestone.

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"Next game will be my 100th in the ISL and I'm proud of this. I dedicate this to all the players who have played with me and the coaches who have helped me in this league," said the 28-year-old left-back.

Mandar began his career as a winger before slotting into the full-back's role. In 2014, when he was representing Dempo Sporting Club in the I-League, FCG signed him up for the inaugural ISL season.

After featuring in multiple positions on the field in the 2017/18 edition, Mandar found a permanent spot in the Goa backline the very next year. He also took over the captaincy of the side from Laxmikant Kattimani.

"Two years ago, my position changed from being a winger to playing as a left-back. The coach [Sergio Lobera] believed in me more than myself and I'm continuing as a left-back. The national team coach [Igor Stimac] also likes the way I play. I am growing as a player and doing well. But I look to do better," he added.

Head coach Lobera, who also moved to Mumbai after managing Goa in multiple seasons, lauded Mandar as one of his most reliable and experienced players.

"At Goa, we wanted offensive full-backs. They needed to arrive in attacking positions and we looked to make the most of it. Mandar is a very good player. He'll be playing 100 games in ISL and that's not easy. When Subhasish Bose left [Mumbai City], he was the best option to replace him, and we are happy that he chose to come with us," claimed Lobera.

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