Bengaluru vs Mumbai City: Preview and Prediction
The second leg of the first semi-final of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season between Bengaluru and Mumbai City will take place on Sunday at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
The home team will be coming into this match with an advantage, having won the first leg by a 1-0 margin. The Blues finished in fourth position in the league stage with 34 points in 20 matches, before defeating Kerala Blasters in the knockouts.
On the other hand, Mumbai City won the ISL League Winners’ Shield by finishing at the top of the table. The Islanders bagged 46 points from 20 games in the league stage before losing out to the Blues in the first leg of the semis.
Bengaluru has been on a unique journey this season, where nothing worked out in their favour. Out of their first 12 matches, Simon Grayson’s team lost eight fixtures and won only three games, while drawing the other match. However, they have been on an unstoppable ride ever since.
The Blues ended their league stage campaign with eight consecutive wins against NorthEast United, Odisha, Jamshedpur, Chennaiyin, ATK Mohun Bagan, Kerala Blasters, Mumbai City, and Goa. They then defeated Kerala Blasters in the playoff match, before beating Mumbai City 1-0 in the first leg of this tie.
Mumbai City’s case is completely the opposite, as they were unbeaten for as many as 18 games. During this streak, Des Buckingham’s team drew only four matches, while winning the other four matches. That being said, they have not performed as per expectations ever since.
The Islanders ended their league phase with back-to-back defeats against Bengaluru and East Bengal. While those losses did not hurt as they had already won the shield by then, Mumbai City got a real reality check after the last defeat.
Head to Head Record
There is absolutely nothing to separate the two teams on the basis of head-to-head records. Bengaluru and Mumbai City have met 13 times in the league previously, where they both have won six games apiece, with one match ending in a stalemate.
The last meeting, which took place only a few days ago, saw Bengaluru winning the match by a 1-0 margin. After a cagey affair which lasted for the majority of the match, Sunil Chhetri scored the winner in the 79th minute.
Mumbai City usually prefers to stick to their preferred playing XI, but after the defeat in the last match, Buckingham could be forced to make one tweak in the defensive department. Senegalese central defender Mourtada Fall had a tough time against the Blues’ attackers and could be dropped to the bench.
In his place, Australian defender Rostyn Griffiths could be making a comeback in the team. Besides that, the double pivot of Apuia and Ahmed Jahouh were both poor in the first leg, but they might retain their place.
Though his team won the first leg, Grayson could also make a couple of tweaks to his playing XI. Bruno Ramires did not look at his best in the defensive role in the last game, and in his place, Brazilian central defender Alan Costa could be handed a start.
Besides that, Sivasakthi Narayanan was very subdued and the Blues looked much livelier after the introduction of Chhetri into the attack. The goal-scorer from the last game is likely to be handed a start at the youngster’s expense.
Mumbai City (4-2-3-1): Phurba Lachenpa; Rahul Bheke, Mehtab Singh, Rostyn Griffith, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy; Apuia Ralte, Ahmed Jahouh; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Greg Stewart, Bipin Singh; Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
Bengaluru (3-5-2): Gurpreet Singh Sandhi; Aleksandar Jovanovic, Sandesh Jhingan, Alan Costa; Prabir Das, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Javi Hernandez, Rohit Kumar, Roshan Naorem; Roy Krishna, Sunil Chhetri.
Mumbai City might have been the best team in the league stage, but they now have lost three matches on the trot while the Blues have been on a roll lately. With the passionate Sree Kanteerava Stadium crowd also cheering for them, we have predicted Bengaluru to win this match.