On Sunday, when Mumbai City FC hosts FC Goa at the Mumbai Football Arena, the Indian football fans will be treated to an exciting match between two teams that play contrasting styles of football courtesy of their two European coaches. Jorge Costa of Mumbai City belongs to the Jose Mourinho School of thought having captained Porto when they lifted the Champions League Cup in 2004. On the other hand, Sergio Lobera was the assistant manager of the Barcelona team and swears by the tiki-taka style of playing soccer and believes that a soccer match is won by simply scoring more goals than your opponents.
Mumbai City FC
The Islanders had several things going right for them this season, one among them being the appointment of Jorge Costa as the coach. He has put together a team that is robust in defence and are quick and incisive on counter attacks. With Modou Sougou who is one of the contenders for the golden boot for the ISL 2018-19 and Arnold Issoko who is competing with FC Goa’s Ferran Corominas for the most assists this season, Costa has a good team to challenge the highest goal scorers of the season. Lucian Goian as the centre back will keep a close eye on the FC Goa strikers while Raphael Bastos and Paulo Machado will be on call when they attack.
The Gaurs have demonstrated that they are an attacking team and once they hit the back of the opponents net they tend to go rampant. Sergio Lobera has done well to fortify his defence with a change of personnel post the first half of the season. That saw the team conceding only four goals in their last eight matches compared to the 16 that they conceded in their ten previous matches. Meanwhile, their main strikers were busy scoring goals with Ferran Corominas (15), Edu Bedia (7), Jackichand (3) and Hugo Boumos (3) taking their goal tally to 36 for the season. The man to watch out for is Ahmed Jahou. The Moroccan midfielder has initiated most of the goals that his team has scored with his accurate passes to the front line.
Head to head
The two teams have met ten times in the ISL with Goa securing a win four times while Mumbai City winning the games three times. Three matches between them ended in a draw. This season the Gaurs have got the better of the Islanders in both the encounters 5-0 and 2-0. While the first rout was at home, the second was in Mumbai which ended their nine-game unbeaten run this season.
Current form of the two teams
Mumbai City has seen themselves losing four of their last six games starting with their loss to FC Goa. They have won two games however one of their games coming when they stopped the eleven run unbeaten streak of the table toppers Bengaluru FC. The Gaurs are going into the match with four wins under their belt and a loss and a draw in their last six games. They have only conceded three goals in that time in their loss to Bengaluru FC.
It is very difficult to predict the result of a game such as this one given the upheaval that we have seen in the champions league matches over the past few days. It becomes even more difficult after North East Utd FC surprised Bengaluru FC last night to win the match 2-1 at home. Nevertheless, predict we must.
I will rely on the style of play that the two teams follow and their defensive records. Although both teams have conceded the same number of goals this season, FC Goa has scored 11 goals more than Mumbai City FC. And given that they are in much better form that is portrayed by Mumbai City, I would favour FC Goa to win this match comfortably.
Score: Mumbai City 1:3 FC Goa