ISL 2020-21 Preview: Mumbai City takes on struggling Odisha FC

ISL 2020: Hugo Boumous’ return to form will be a huge boost for the Islanders as they get ready to take on Odisha FC on Sunday.

Mumbai City FC is placed second in the ISL standings, after two victories from three matches. - TWITTER (@MUMBAICITYFC)

Mumbai City FC finally played like a Sergio Lobera-managed side when it defeated SC East Bengal 3-0 on Tuesday. Hugo Boumous’ return to form will be a huge boost for the Islanders as they get ready to take on Odisha FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Stuart Baxter’s Odisha has been struggling in the 2020-21 Indian Super League. The Kalinga Warriors have two losses and a draw in the tournament and are going into the Mumbai game having conceded a late winner in the ATK Mohun Bagan outing on Thursday.

Mumbai, with two victories in three matches, occupies the second spot in the standings. Striker Adam Le Fondre is tied with Nerijus Valskis (Jamshedpur), Roy Krishna (Mohun Bagan) and Igor Angulo (Goa) as the leading goal-scorer of the ongoing edition.

Playmaker Boumous recently overtook Odisha’s Marcelinho as the top assist-provider in ISL history, while MCFC captain Amrinder Singh has kept clean sheets in the last two fixtures.

 

'Need to score goals'

With most of the players in his squad in decent form, coach Lobera wants them to keep playing an attacking brand of football. The 43-year-old is also wary of the threat OFC can possess.

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“We need to stick to our style and improve our play. It’s not easy playing against a team like Odisha. They have an experienced coach. We play attacking football. Balance is an important thing. We had two clean sheets and that’s very important. We need to score goals and that’s our philosophy,” Lobera said during a virtual conference.

Lobera hasn’t deployed a constant playing XI this edition. He has made four changes in each of the previous two games and he feels it’s important to field the right line-up based on the opponent.

'Very good squad'

“I have a very good squad. If you need to win a game, you need 11 players. If you want to win the league, you need to have a good squad. I made four changes in the second game. I know the physical condition and form of each player. It depends on the game. It is not about trying different things. We need to find the best XI for every game,” he claimed.

Tenth-placed Odisha, on the other hand, had beaten Mumbai in both the encounters last season, scoring six goals in the process. But the side has found the back of the net in only one of its three outings this term.

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Brazilian forward Diego Mauricio has scored both the goals for OFC so far. On the contrary, the likes of Marcelinho and Manuel Onwu are still trying to reach their best. The defence, led by skipper Steven Taylor, has panicked at times and midfielder Cole Alexander is confident of a turnaround.

“In the last game, my soul came out of my body when they (ATKMB) scored in the last 10 seconds. I don’t think we deserved to lose that match. We should have at least got a draw. We’ve been getting better with each game and I believe that we’ll do well in the next one,” Alexander said.

'Confident'

The South African international added that his entire squad was determined to minimise errors ahead of the clash with MCFC.

“Mumbai is a good side but I feel confident. We’ve conceded goals due to our errors. The teams don’t do much to score against us. We commit schoolboy errors during set-pieces. If we can fix that and remain composed for the entire 90 minutes, we can get better results.”

A victory on Sunday will take Mumbai to the top of the points table, while Odisha can move up several places by bagging three points.

MATCH FACTS

VENUE: G. M. C. Stadium, Bambolim

TIME: 5.00pm IST

THE SQUADS

MUMBAI CITY FC: Amrinder Singh, Nishit Shetty, Vikram Lahkbir Singh, Phurba Lachenpa, Mourtada Fall (Senegal), Mandar Rao Dessai, Tondonba Singh, Sarthak Golui, Amey Ranawade, Mohamad Rakip, Mehtab Singh, Valpuia, Ahmed Jahouh (Morocco), Rowllin Borges, Bidyananda Singh, Cy Goddard (Japan), Raynier Fernandes, Hugo Boumous (France), Farukh Choudhary, Sourav Das, Hernan Santana (Spain), Asif Khan, Bipin Singh, Vikram Pratap Singh, Vignesh D, Bartholomew Ogbeche (Nigeria), Pranjal Bhumij, Adam Le Fondre (England).

ODISHA FC: Kamaljit Singh, Ravi Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Ankit Bhuyan, Steven Taylor (England), Shubham Sarangi, Jacob Tratt (Australia), Gaurav Bora, Hendry Antonay, Kamalpreet Singh, George D'Souza, Mohammad Dhot, Saurabh Meher, Cole Alexander (South Africa), Nandhakumar Sekar, Paul Ramfangzauva, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Vinit Rai, Thoiba Singh, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Boaringdao Bodo, Lahrezuala Sailung, Marcelo Pereira (Brazil), Jerry Mawihmingthana, Manuel Onwu (Spain), Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Diego Mauricio (Brazil), Laishram Singh.