Mumbai and NEUFC eye third straight win

Mumbai City FC host North East United FC in a clash of the in-form teams in the Indian Super League, both having won their last two matches.

India captain Sunil Chhetri has scored three goals in his last two games for Mumbai City FC.   -  PTI

Indian goalkeepers responding excellently to responsibility placed on their shoulders by foreign coaches is the common link between North East United FC and Mumbai City FC, ready for a face-off in the ISL 2015 at the DY Patil stadium on Wednesday.

TP Rehenesh (NEUFC) and Subrata Paul (MCFC) have performed brilliantly in the last two games. They have been composed under pressure and charged out to snatch the ball from rival forwards. Head coach Cesar Farias and player/coach Nicolas Anelka will expect a repeat show.

Both custodians infuse a lot of confidence in the backline and the feeling spreads down the ranks, which was reflected in the previous two games. NEUFC brought down Chennaiyin FC and Atletico de Kolkata in consecutive matches at home, hence the team will be bubbling with positive energy.

Farias’ squad picked up tempo after the break in both games, in tune with two or three substitutions. Marquee player Simao Sabrosa, Nicolas Velez and Sanju Pradhan responded with goals or assists each time they were pushed in, forcing opponents into mistakes.

Mumbai City looked upbeat in two back-to-back ties, the effect of Anelka’s tactics multiplied with numerous players striking form. Frederic Piquionne, Darren O’Dea and Pavel Cmovs doing tasks assigned to them.

The sixth match for each side can swing either way, though a high-voltage draw looks likely if goalkeepers Rehenesh or Subrata keep up their good form. Mumbai City have kept playmaker Brandon Fernandes under wraps so far in ISL as Anelka is slipping into groove.

MCFC supporters in blue will have competition from NEUFC fans at the DY Patil stadium, making for an absorbing contest under the floodlights as Farias moves players around like pieces on a chess board, Anelka allowing players the freedom to strike form, as long as the actions fall within the ambit of his plan.