Mumbai edge Pune in a low-scoring Maharashtra derby

Mumbai City FC came away with the three points as they beat FC Pune City 1-0 at the Balewadi Sports Complex on Sunday. Matias Defederico’s 69th minute goal proved to be the difference as the hosts failed to come back with any answers. The derby kicked off with both teams setting up identically. A touchline ban for FC Pune City coach Antonio Lopez Habas saw assistant coach dictate orders from beyond the byline.

The first few exchanges of the game were haphazard with both sides opting against playing possession football. Instead, they preferred playing long balls to the attackers, reducing the impact of the midfielders considerably. Mumbai had the lion’s share of possession in the final third, but it was the home side that boasted of having the better chances. New acquisition Jesus Tato donned the number 10 for the Stallions and led the line with aplomb. The best chance of the first period fell to him when Arata Izumi played an exquisite ball into the feat of the Spanird, but Roberto Volpato made himself big in the Mumbai goal and kept out the striker.

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Pronay Halder is brought down by Jonatan Lucca. Photo Credits: ISL official website

Marquee man Diego Forlan craved for service inside the 18-yard-area  and was often seen dropping deep to get involved in proceedings. Mumbai midfielder Krisztian Vadocz game close to breaking the deadlock moments before the half-time whistle, the Pune defenders were having none of him and cleared the ball to safety. The visitors took charge once the second half began and were duly rewarded in the 68th minute. Forlan was in the pick of things this time around as he played a deft back heel into the stride of midfielder Matias Defederico whose shot from long range beat Pune goalkeeper Edel Bete all ends up. The strike was welcomed with a hostile reaction from an otherwise upbeat home crowd at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune.

Post the goal, it was all Mumbai as the hosts were pushed on the back foot. The visitors controlled proceedings and created a number of chances late on. Pune had a few half chances in the dying stages, but they failed to muster a way back into the game and ended up losing it 1-0.

NorthEast United will be looking to build a winning run as host FC Goa

The John Abraham co-owned out NorthEast United will play their second home game of the season when they play host to Zico’s FC Goa. The Highlanders are on the back of a 1-0 victory against Kerala Blasters on the opening day and will be looking to make it two wins in two when they play last-season’s runners-up.

Squad Analysis

NorthEast United FC

The NorthEast United FC side will be brimming with confidence after they picked up maximum points on the opening day. A second-half goal from Katsumi Yusa proved to be enough as the Highlanders put up a gritty performance in front of their home fans. Goalkeeper Subrata Paul looked a tad shaky at the back and was lucky to keep a shutout for the entire course of the game. He nearly gifted two goals to the opposition as he found himself playing a rather sweeper keeper role and often found himself on the wrong side of strikers. He is set to continue between the sticks for NorthEast.

Reagan Singh underwhelmed at right-back in his last game and could be replaced by Nirmal Chettri while Robin Gurung could face a similar fate as Shouvik Ghosh is likely to deputise at the left-back position. Marquee signing Didier Zokora came off the bench for the last game and is set to starting this game in place of compatriot Koffi N’Dri. In the attacking third, Emiliano Alfaro looks set to lead the lines with Nicolaz Velez playing in-behind him.

NorthEast United possible XI (4-2-3-1): Subrata; Ghosh, Lazzaretti, Alves, Chhetri; Zokora, Borges; Yusa, Velez, Narzary; Alfaro.

Goa vs NorthEast - Football tactics and formations

FC Goa

It will be a tough ask for FC Goa, given their numerous injury concerns. Striker Robin Singh recently suffered a knock and will spend an indefinite amount of time on the sidelines. Gregory Arnolin is surely out of contention along with Subhasish Row Chowdhury and Denzil Franco. Luciano Sabrosa too hasn’t been training with the first team.

Laxmikant Kattimani should start in between the sticks. Knowing Zico’s penchant of fielding a 3-4-1-2, marquee signing Lucio is expected to partner Rafael Dumas and Keenan Almeida expected to form a three-man defence. Much like last season, Romeo Fernandes and Mandar Rao Dessai could once again be utilised as wing-backs. Richarlyson Barbosa and Sahil Tavora could slot into the midfield, forming a double pivot. Jofre Mateu who has enjoyed life in India, will likely start as a number 10. In the absence of Robin Singh, Rafael Coelho is likely to partner Reinaldo up front.

FC Goa possible XI (3-4-1-2): Kattimani; Dumas, Lucio, Almeida; Romeo, Richarlyson, Sahil, Mandar; Joffre; Coelho, Reinaldo.

Prediction

NorthEast United FC 2-1 FC Goa

NorthEast are on the back of a 1-0 home victory and all signs point towards them making it two wins from two. FC Goa’s numerous injury concerns may be a big factor in deciding the outcome of the game, and it may give the Highlanders the upper hand going into the game.

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