ISL: High-flying Mumbai eyes top spot against Goa

Mumbai City FC shipped five goals against FC Goa when the two sides last met in October and the host will be gunning for revenge when they lock horns on Friday.

FC Goa has scored 27 goals in 12 games — more than any other team.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

FC Goa will line up against Mumbai City FC on Friday in the Indian Super League at a time when the latter is ready to take on all-comers. Second in the league table and boosted by a compact show against Bengaluru FC, the Islanders led by Paulo Machado will look to impose themselves against their state rival.

Head coach Jorge Costa focused on the present instead of delving into the past, ahead of the home match against Goa — a team reputed to tear apart defences with one-touch passing and goal-scoring ability.

“I don’t know what the result will be, but it not be like the last game (where Mumbai lost by five goals) for sure. The situation is much better,” he said, adding: “We didn’t make any special changes.”

MCFC's defensive line-up has changed its approach after that loss to Goa. Lucian Goian’s diving headers to clear low crosses in the win over Bengaluru demonstrated the team's all-out approach. There is a conscious attempt to cut down on mistakes at the back and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh is always on hand to take charge when the ball slips through the defensive gaps. Left-back Subhasish Bose is also in the best form of his career.

The fluency in the midfield and switch from defence to attack is swift enough to catch any team by surprise. Goa, a team good at creating chances, could be tested in the midfield by Rafael Bastos, Machado, Modou Sougou and Arnold Issoko. The home team has scored 21 goals from 13 matches so far.

Fourth placed Goa has scored 27 goals in 12 games — more than any other team. Ferran Corominas with 10 goals (from 11 games) sits at the top of the goal-scoring charts.

“FC Goa is a good team and are in very good shape. They know how to keep the ball and we also know what to do,” said Costa.

Fans in the stands at the Mumbai Football Arena can expect an edge-of-the-seat match, with the likes of Edu Bedia, Ahmed Jahouh, Lenny Rodrigues in the Goan side capable of producing match-winning displays. An early goal will spur the other team into hitting back and make the contest watchable.