ISL: Jamshedpur FC faces Mumbai City FC, eyes fourth spot

Currently positioned fifth on the points table, Jamshedpur FC would want to embark on a winning run to ensure a semifinal spot.

The defence shouldn’t be blamed for Jamshedpur FC’s quiet run, says Cesar Ferrando (in picture).   -  K. MURALI KUMAR (File Photo)

Jamshedpur FC will look to break into the top four with a win over Mumbai City FC in an Indian Super League contest here on Friday.

Jamshedpur is currently fifth on the points table (20 points) and is three points away from the fourth spot. With just four matches left to play in the round, it would want to embark on a winning run to secure a semifinal spot. In the last five matches it has played, it has won only one.

“In the last three matches, we lost 2-1 against ATK, had a draw against FC Goa and won against Delhi Dynamos. We have only conceded three goals in these games so I don’t think the defence is an issue,” coach Cesar Ferrando said. “We should cut out those counter-attacks earlier, but I don’t think you can blame the defence for that,” he pointed out.

Read | Carles Cuadrat: 'They almost killed Sunil Chhetri'

The absence of Tim Cahill, its star forward, and Michael Soosairaj, to injuries, and Gourav Mukhi and Carlos Calvo to suspensions, cause headaches for Jamshedpur. But the fact that it has never lost to Mumbai City FC at all will give it confidence.

Big blows

“Tim Cahill’s injury is a big problem for us. Losing Gourav Mukhi to a ban is a blow, too, since he was playing very well, so is losing Carlos Calvo. A winger who can beat his man is very important and that is why losing Soosairaj is a big blow for us,” Ferrando said.

The team will need to be wary of Mumbai’s counter-attacking strategy. Mumbai doesn’t mind giving the majority of the possession to its opponents, and prefers hitting teams on the counter. The pace of its forward line — consisting of Arnold Issoko, Moudou Sougou and Rafael Bastos, among others — is something that Ferrando would need to be cautious about.

Tim Cahill is ruled out of the contest due to injury. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

 

Sougou’s participation is in doubt. He did not play Mumbai’s last match due to a hamstring injury, but he has travelled to Jamshedpur.

“After [Friday], we will only have three games to play till the end. Both teams will be under heavy pressure, but it is our job to handle the pressure. The pressure will be more on Jamshedpur since we are already in a top-four position while they are trying to come up in the table,” Jorge Costa, Mumbai head coach, said.

Mumbai would be looking to breach the psychological 30-point barrier with a win and come to within a point of league leader Bengaluru FC. The team would be expected to be cautious and prudent in the upcoming contest.