Chennayin FC Hand NorthEast United FC First Loss Of Season Three
In an absorbing clash between two immensely competitive sides, Chennayin FC secured a crucial 1-0 win against Northeast United FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium in Guwahati on Thursday.
The away team came into this game without having beaten Northeast United FC in their four attempts, but the Champions displayed a powerful performance and finally broke the jinks.
Neither team dominated in the first half with chances coming few and far between, but when Emiliano Alfaro and Succi are on either end of the pitch, there’s bound to be fireworks at some point. And that’s exactly what happened. In the 49th minute, a moment of magic from Davide Succi won the match for Chennayin FC. A brilliant first time side volley by the Italian striker turned Siam Hangal’s delivery into an assist. The crowd was on it’s feet as the ball rocketed into the back of the net.
It turned into a wrestling match as the game progressed, with the two captains, Didier Zakora and Bernard Mendy at the helm of the action. Marco Materazzi’s decision to leave marquee player John Arne Riise on the bench came as a surprise, but Mendy was happy to fill the void with a Hero of the Match performance. His challenge on Alfaro inside the penalty area saved the day for the visitors. Moments like those are the difference between winning and losing titles. Mendy, clearly, has no plans of returning the title.
For Northeast United FC, it was a first defeat at home this season. Nelo Vingada’s side have had to play a substancial amount of football in the first 20 days of the third of the ISL, and in that context, have faired decently so far. A win would have meant they would stay top even if Mumbai City FC managed 3 points against FC Goa on Friday. However, it wasn’t their night. It wasn’t Alfaro’s night. The striker looked seemingly frustrated as the game went on due to the lack of cutting edge in the final third.
Northeast United FC remain on top of the table with 10 points off 6 games, while Chennayin FC jumped to third spot with 7 points in 4 matches.
Match Preview : Mumbai City FC vs FC Goa
After a thrilling 3-3 draw against Delhi Dynamos FC, Mumbai City FC get ready to take on a struggling FC Goa side at the Andheri Sports Complex on Friday.
Team News And Tactics
Mumbai City FC
With 8 points off 5 games and sitting in second position in the Hero ISL table, Alexandre Guimaraes’ team have established themselves as one of the favorites to make the playoffs. However, they’ve shown early promise in the previous two seasons and have let their foot off the the gas at a similar stage. Having never made it to the playoffs, Ranbir Kapoor and co will be rearing to make a mark this season.
In terms of team news, the good news for the home side is that marquee player Diego Forlan is fit to start after missing out on the team’s last three outings. Sony Norde scored a wonderful goal against Delhi three days ago in his first start this campaign, and the Haiti-international will team up with Forlan for the first time this season. Sunil Chettri still hasn’t played for Mumbai this season as he gears up for the final of the AFC Cup in Abu Dhabi.
As far as tactics go, barring Sunil Chettri, Leo Costa and Anwar Ali were both injured in the last game so will probably have to be replaced. A 4-4-1-1 seems to work well for Guimaraes’ side with Defederico playing behind Diego Forlan. Sony Norde and Sehnaj will provide the width and the former’s trickery could cause problems for the already struggling FC Goa defense.
The strikers have misfired this season for Mumbai City FC. Barring Forlan’s penalty against Northeast United FC, all goals have been scored by midfielders. But with the marqee back in action, the fans will be hoping for that statistic to change.
No team in ISL history has ever gone without winning their first five games. Should the visitors fail to win today, they will carry that unwanted record on their shoulders. Just like champions Chennayin FC, last season’s runners-up FC Goa have not made the best start to the season and will be hoping to turn it around. According to Zico, the team has not faired too badly and even in games they’ve lost, they have played well. Goa can build confidence going into the game knowing that they hammered Mumbai 7-0 last season.
Defence is a major concern after conceding 7 goals so far. Goa’s back-line must improve or else they could be on the wrong end of an embarrassing scoreline as they come up against Forlan, Norde and Defederico. Goa don’t have much to boast attackingly either, having scored just one goal from open play.
Robin Singh and Reinaldo are expected to start together to improve the struggling attack, and Joffre and Cardozo will be hoping to provide the supply. a 4-4-2 formation could be fielded for FC Goa with two defensive midfielders protecting the back four and two attack-minded midfielders linking with the two strikers.
Prediction : Mumbai City FC 3-1 FC Goa
Keeping in mind recent form of the two teams, Mumbai City FC’s attacking prowess will be too hot for FC Goa to handle. Mumbai managed to score 3 goals against a well-organised Delhi side, so scoring 3 against a struggling Goa side doesn’t look difficult. FC Goa need to pull their socks up big time if they have to get anything out of this game.