Jamshedpur: Mumbai City FC have a chance to set a new Hero Indian Super League (ISL) record by going 16 games unbeaten, and are also two goals away from having the highest league stage goals tally, if they manage to keep their prolific streak intact when they take on Jamshedpur FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Friday.
A win for the Islanders will take them seven points clear of Hyderabad FC, who are not playing this week. As for the Red Miners, they have a chance to become the only team to remain unbeaten against Mumbai City FC this season.
With a tally of nine points and five games to go, the primary aim for Jamshedpur FC will be to finish as high as they possibly can. The Red Miners could have been level on points with East Bengal FC at this point, but they went down 3-0 against Bengaluru FC last week.
Goal scoring has not been easy for Aidy Boothroyd’s men. However, last week was the first time in five games that Jamshedpur FC fired a blank. Over the last few weeks, the Red Miners have scored not more than two goals per match, ended their winless streak, and only picked up a few points in the process.
Daniel Chukwu has only scored once after finding the back of the net against Mumbai City FC in the reverse fixture three months ago. The Nigerian is likely to start the game against the Islanders, but Ishan Pandita and Harry Sawyer will also be in contention.
“Jamshedpur FC, ATK [Mohun Bagan], and Hyderabad FC are the only teams to get a point against Mumbai. It’s a very difficult game against a well-coached team. It will be a difficult game for us,” said Boothroyd. “We all love football, but games don’t always go to the team that is in good form. We have a lot of respect for the opponent, but we want to try and win every single game that we play,” he added.
Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham has already made trips to Guwahati and Kolkata to study his previous two opponents, and will likely have another strong plan for his next fixture.
Buckingham’s unbeaten Mumbai City FC have operated like a well-oiled machine so far. Greg Stewart assisted Lallianzuala Chhangte’s opener in the reverse fixture. The Scotsman will be looking to add more goal contributions to his tally when he faces his former club.
“The last time we played them, we dropped two points against them at home. They are a good team playing under a good coach in Aidy. We have watched their recent games and are expecting a tough challenge,” said Buckingham. “We are a very different team compared to what we were when we faced them last time. We have showcased our attacking football more often. It will be a very different game compared to the last one and we are looking forward to it,” he added.
Including the reverse fixture, these two sides have met 11 times in the Hero ISL. The Red Miners have won five times, while the Islanders have won thrice. Their last meeting ended in a 1-1 draw.