Today Mumbai City FC takes on Chennaiyin FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday.
Both teams vying for the only remaining semi-final slot, the match presents an almost must-win proposition for both sides involved, especially the home team.
After being thoroughly beaten by FC Goa in their last fixture, Mumbai City will need to pick up all three points in their last league phase encounter against an in-form Chennaiyin side in order to seal their qualification in the knock out stages of Hero ISL 2019-20.
Jorge Costa’s team will be buoyed by their recent home run which has seen them win their last three games in Mumbai, including a 2-0 victory over defending champions Bengaluru FC.
While a draw won’t knock them out immediately, the Islanders will need to rely on NorthEast beating Chennaiyin in the last match and Kerala denying Odisha a win in order to qualify, making qualification a lot more unlikely.
Furthermore, with 14 different goal scorers so far this season, Mumbai has proven to be a difficult opposition to contend with for most teams this season and will certainly make things difficult for Chennaiyin’s backline come Friday.
Like Mumbai, a win in Friday’s match will ensure Chennaiyin’s qualification in the semi-finals but the Marina Machans also have a little more leeway when it comes to settling for a draw. In the event of a stalemate, however, things do become a little more complicated for the two-time champions as that would mean Odisha can come back into the fray with a win over Kerala Blasters FC on Sunday’s match.
If that happens, Chennaiyin’s last match against NorthEast United FC on Monday will become a must-win affair for Chennaiyin as even a draw in that match would mean Mumbai, Chennaiyin and Odisha finish on 27 points and Odisha go through by virtue of their superior head to head record against the other two.
Chennaiyin fans, however, can take hear from the team’s recent form which has seen them win five of their last six matches, scoring an impressive 18 goals in the process. Even the fact that Chennaiyin is still in the top four race can be attributed to the miraculous turnaround the team has managed under new head coach Owen Coyle, who took over at a time Chennaiyin were languishing near the bottom of the table.
The driving force behind their recent surge has been their attacking quartet of Nerijus Valskis, Rafael Crivellaro, Lallianzuala Chhangte, and Andre Schembri, all of whom have been in scintillating form since Coyle’s arrival. Anirudh Thapa and Edwin Vanspaul have also put in impressive stints in midfield post the Irishman’s arrival at the club.
In fact, Chennaiyin’s turnaround under Owen Coyle mirrors glimpses of their Hero ISL 2015 season where the team went from 10 points in 10 matches to win the Hero ISL trophy.
Mumbai City FC: Amrinder Singh, Subhasish Bose, Mato Grgic, Pratik Choudhary, Mohammed Rafique, Rowllin Borges, Bidyananda Singh, Modou Sougou, Mohamed Larbi, Diego Carlos, Amine Chermiti
Chennaiyin FC: Vishal Kaith, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Lucian Goian, Eli Sabia, Laldinliana Anirudh Thapa, Edwin Vanspaul, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro, Andre Schembri, Nerijus Valskis
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 87: Mumbai City FC vs Chennaiyin FC
Date: February 21 (Friday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network