Pune, March 1 (IANS) Mumbai City FC will be looking for a confidence-boosting ‘Maharashtra derby’ victory when they take on FC Pune City in an Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Saturday.
The Islanders, who have already qualified for the Hero Indian Super League semi-finals, can possibly secure the third spot with a win which could see them pitted against FC Goa in the knock-out tie. If NorthEast United manage to pip Kerala Blasters, Jorge Costa’s men will have to play league leaders Bengaluru FC.
Mumbai City, after being in a rut of sorts following the international break, finally jolted into action in their last game and beat ATK 3-1 to seal a top-four spot. Key to that performance was the return to goalscoring ways of star striker Modou Sougou who grabbed a hat-trick. The Senegalese now has 12 goals to his name and will once again be the man to watch out for.
Costa has claimed that he is looking for nothing less than a win though he might have to make do without the services of Souvik Chakraborty and Sehnaj Singh who are suspended for this tie.
“I will not rest anybody. Some players 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,” he said.
Pune City, on the other hand, will be out for revenge after being handed a 2-0 defeat by their derby rivals in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
Phil Brown’s team are already out of the running for a semi spot but they can still finish sixth on the table, provided they win on Saturday and ATK loses their final fixture.
The team has done well ever since Brown took over, with just one loss in five matches. The Englishman will be looking to bounce back from that loss, suffered in their previous match against Delhi Dynamos.
“We know Mumbai’s strengths. The lad up front (Modou Sougou) scores plenty of goals. He makes great runs behind. But 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. We have prepared for whatever they throw at us,” he claimed.
He does have some challenges in the form of suspensions for forward Marcelinho and centre-back Martin Diaz while winger Ashique Kuruniyan sits out with an injury.
Pune City will look towards Iain Hume and Diego Carlos to provide the firepower up front and help them finish their season on a high.