ISL 2018: Mumbai City, FC Pune eyes first win in Maharashtra derby

FC Pune City will be buoyed by star forward Marcelinho's return ahead of the Maharashtra derby against Mumbai City FC on Friday.

FC Pune City struggled in the opening match against Delhi Dynamos in Marcelinho's absence.   -  ISL

The first Maharashtra Derby of the season will see Mumbai City FC host neighbor FC Pune City on Friday at Mumbai Football Arena.

Pune City, which is currently seventh in the standings with one draw and a loss, last won against Mumbai City last season. The Stallions had won the home tie 1-0 before travelling to Mumbai to seal the bragging rights with a 2-0 win. Mumbai has so far not won any of its previous three matches against the Pune City at home.

“The results were not what we wanted, especially in the first game at home. But we are working good and I have the same confidence in the team. I’m hoping we can do better tomorrow and hopefully, we can get three points,” said FC Pune City coach Jorge Costa, ahead of the derby

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Paulo Machado, Arnold Issoko and Rafael Bastos will have a huge role to play if they are to overcome a Pune City side which received a boost with star striker Marcelinho back in the attack.

“Pune are a very good team. We are building a new team and Pune have almost the same team from last season. They have an advantage there and also have a very good coach. It will be a difficult game for us,” Costa said.

Pune's attack looks ominous with Marcelinho's goal-poaching ability combined with Emiliano Alfaro's sheer work rate and Diego Carlos' flair from the wings. Marcelinho and Alfaro have scored 17 of Pune City’s 31 goals last season - 54.84 per cent of the team’s tally.

Pune struggled to find the net in the opening match against Delhi Dynamos with Marcelinho suspended. Whenever the 31-year-old has scored a goal, Pune City has not lost a game.

Coach Miguel Angel Portugal is confident of securing a win on Friday.

“It's the second match for us. I know that they (Mumbai) lost their first match here against Jamshedpur but against Kerala Blasters, Mumbai played well. Against Jamshedpur, they played well in the first half. But I know what's the problem with Mumbai and we'll try to win,” he said.

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Protecting the hosts' backline against Marcelinho & co. will be Lucian Goian who has been the lone bright spot in an otherwise subpar Mumbai City defence.

The battle between Mumbai’s defence and Pune’s attack should turn out to be the defining battle in this match. The match-up also sees Costa’s pragmatic approach come up against a possession-based style of Miguel Portugal.

Match No.12 - Friday, October 19: Mumbai City FC vs FC Pune City - 7:30 pm (IST), Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai