Mumbai City FC, fresh from qualifying for the Indian Super League playoffs, will look to end its league campaign with a win against a depleted FC Pune City in the Maharashtra derby at the Balewadi stadium in Pune on Saturday.
With Mumbai’s playoff opponent being confirmed as FC Goa following NorthEast United FC’s draw with Kerala Blasters , the match is of little importance to the Islanders.
Seventh placed Pune, on the other hand, has had a lacklustre campaign this season after qualifying for the playoffs last year. And it will look to end this season on a high with a derby win, and get revenge after losing 2-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
Both sides have to deal with suspensions to key players. Souvik Chakraborty and Sehnaj Singh are suspended for Mumbai while Pune will be without Marcelinho and Martin Diaz. The Stallions will also have to do without the services of Ashique Kuruniyan, who is out with an injury.
"I will not rest anybody. Some will not play tomorrow due to injuries. Two players are suspended and some players are on three yellow cards. All others will play. We want to win tomorrow, it is the final game of the league stage," Mumbai coach Jorge Costa said in the pre-match press conference.
With Modou Sougou, Subhasish Bose and Matias Mirabaje on three yellow cards each, they will most likely be rested for the match.
Pune can still finish sixth, and bypass the Hero Super Cup qualifiers, if it wins on Saturday and ATK loses its final fixture.
Since Phil Brown took over, the team has lost just one game in five matches and the Englishman will be looking to bounce back from the loss to Delhi Dynamos.
With suspensions and injuries to contend with, Brown said, "I don’t want to necessarily flood it with youngsters because its important that when you do pick youngsters you put them in a team that could possibly go on to win a game, go on to play well, perform well."
"We know Mumbai's strengths. Their biggest strength is on the right side. I know one of their suspended players is their right back (Souvik) and therefore that levels the game out a bit," he added.
The two teams have faced off on nine occasions in the past, with Pune bagging five wins and Mumbai three.