The battle for cementing a place in the playoffs heats up as North East United FC host Mumbai City FC in Match number 31 of the Hero Indian Super League.

Both the sides, potential title contenders have been struggling of late and will be looking to go all guns blazing in a attempt to topple the league leaders with a win. NorthEast United would be looking to avoid a third straight hime defeat while the side from Mumbai will be looking to play better football after being escaping with a lucky point last time around.

NORTH EAST UNITED FC

NorthEast United be looking to bounce back to their winning ways after two back to back home defeats as they look to book their playoff berths. Nelo Vingada’s side, who he dubbed has the potential to be the League’s Leicester City story have been struggling off late. After a period of 25 days on the top of the table. The Highlanders have seen a dip in form as they lost their last two matches at home both by one goal margins. In the last match, they failed to make most of their lead as they witnessed a comeback from Atletico de Kolkata with the help of a certain Helder Postiga, the problem seemed to be the long gap the matches that has been disrupting the rythym of the squad. Vingada often dubbed as the Professor has his tactics somewhat built around a continuous and rhythmic flow of the game. It seems the players forms too have taken a bit of a toll, given the fact that they have been out of action for a week at times.The squad seems to be a set one with not many changes to be accounted. In goal a forced change is evident, with number 1, Subrata Paul picking up an injury in their last match. Their second choice Indian keeper TP Rehenesh is nursing an injury too, making way for Brazilian keeper Wellington Gomes to start. Vingada is known for not tinkering with his squad too much, very few changes are expected with the same back four and 5 man midfield to start once more. Both the coach and the fans would be pinning all their hopes upon top scorer Emilio Alfaro to get them the goals and the win, which would take them equal to the current leaders Delhi Dynamos at 13 points.

MUMBAI CITY FC

Mumbai City FC could go top of the table with a win, but need to improve leaps and bounds since their last outing against Chennayin FC, where they were heavily outplayed and were lucky to come out with a point, thanks to a late wonder goal from their second half substitute Leo Costa.Alexandre Guimares’ side’s form has been on and off in recent games, with a loss, a win and a draw in their last three matches. The Mumbai outfit, who now sit at 3rd position with 12 points from 8 games, would be raring to go top with a win at Guwahati. At goal, Albino Gomes, who has been playing well in recent weeks could retain his position. In defence, Lucian Goian, who could be facing a tough night with Alfarez, against him, is the key to the Mumbai back four, which looks to remain same as the last match. In midfield, the hero from their last outing, Leo Costa looks to get the nod, ahead of Gerson Viera. The partnership of Costa with Vadocz would be crucial in holding the ball and distributing it wide, where Sehnaj Singh and Brito Alves who has been showing promising signs look to retain their places. There could be a switch in position from the last match where the coach played Marquee player Diego Forlan, just bheind the Haitian, Sony Norde. The tactic was poorly executed and backfired big time as Forlan failed to bring Norde into the game.They could be switching positions so that Mumbai could exploit the pace of Norde as well as the poacher’s instincts and experience upfront of Diego Forlan.

Prediction

NorthEast United FC 2-1 Mumbai City FC

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