East Bengal vs Mumbai City: Preview and Prediction￼
East Bengal will be taking on the table-toppers Mumbai City side in their last appearance of the 2022 Durand Cup edition. The Red and Gold Brigade is already ruled out from the qualification scenario of the knockout round and will be turning up for this game to battle for their pride. The iconic Salt Lake Stadium will be the venue of this seventh Group B fixture between the ISL outfits on Saturday.
The 2022 Durand Cup campaign is already done and dusted for the Kolkata-based club after bagging only two points from three matches. The EB gaffer Stephen Constantine has faced heavy criticism for his approach in crucial games and especially for his choices in the Starting Eleven. The Torch Bearers have shown up with their full-strength roster in this prestigious competition but have yet to perform up to the reputation.
Mumbai has already booked their place in the knockout stages and now it is quite evident that they will be heading towards the quarter-final bout as table-toppers of Group B. The Islanders are having an unbeaten run in their maiden Durand Cup campaign after two won and one drawn outcome in their three fixtures of the tournament. The 37-year-old MCFC gaffer Des Buckingham and the Blues must be aiming to finish the group stage journey on a triumphant note.
The previous fixture of East Bengal was the iconic Kolkata Derby with arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan where they ended up losing on a 0-1 scoreline. An own goal from the Indian striker Sumit Passi in the injury time before the half-time whistle kept the Mariners ahead of the Red and Gold Brigade. It was the first defeat for Stephen Constantine and his boys in this edition of the Durand Cup as both of their earlier games were drawn.
On the other hand, Mumbai City FC registered the club’s biggest Durand Cup triumph in their most recent appearance. The Islanders went on to score five past the I-League outfit Rajasthan United and were declared winners on a 5-1 scoreline when the full-time whistle was blown by referee Rahul Kumar Gupta. We witnessed five different Mumbai players gracing the scoresheet featuring Greg Stewart (10′), Lallianzuala Chhangte (18′), Mehtab Singh (36′), Ahmed Jahouh (63′) and Vikram Pratap Singh (90+2′).
Head to Head record
Since the arrival of East Bengal at the grandest stage of the Indian Super League, these two clubs have quarrelled with each other four times across two seasons. Meanwhile, the head-to-head count is heavily dominated by the Sky Blue outfit which has emerged victorious in three out of four face-offs between them. Meanwhile, the remaining one fixture was a goalless draw as the Red and Gold Brigade is yet to register their first-ever triumph over this Maharashtrian outfit.
In the most recent chapter of this rivalry, Mumbai City snatched the valuable three match-points after edging their counterparts by 1-0. It was a nail-biting encounter between these two combatants in the 98th match of the ISL 2021-22 season where the scoreline was locked on 0-0 in the first-half action. Then the Manipuri winger Bipin Singh Thounaojam netted the winning goal for Islanders in the 51st minute with the assistance of Bradden Inman and sealed the game for his team.
This will be the first time when these two combatants will be squaring off at Salt Lake Stadium as the last two ISL were taken place at the solitary venue of Goa state. Playing in this stadium for the entire Durand Cup group stage will help East Bengal in preparations for the upcoming season as the VYBK Arena will be their home turf when the classic home and away fixtures will be resuming.
The central defensive duo of Ivan Gonzalez and Charalambos Kyriacou has formed a deadly partnership and are expected to continue for yet another game in the backline of East Bengal. However, the major problem for the Torch Bearers has been the offense from Day 1 as they haven’t scored a single goal despite playing 270 minutes in the competition. The former Bengaluru FC forward Cleiton Silva who made a substitute appearance against ATK Mohun Bagan will be expecting his first start for his new club.
Buckingham may consider having multiple changes in the Starting XI to offer game time to the bench-warmers who didn’t get many opportunities in group stages. Mehtab Singh is likely to continue in the heart of the Islanders’ defense after a show against Rajasthan United. We may see the 20-year-old RFYC graduate Ayush Chhikara making another cameo appearance in the Sky Blues kits.
Predicted Starting XIs
East Bengal Club (5-3-2): Kamaljit Singh; Lalchungnunga, Ivan Gonzalez, Charalambos Kyriacou, Pritam Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Souvik Chakraborty, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Alex Lima; Sumeet Passi, Cleiton Silva
Mumbai City FC (4-2-3-1): Phurba Lachenpa; Sanjeev Stalin, Rostyn Griffiths, Mehtab Singh, Mandar Rao Desai; Ahmed Jahouh, Vinit Rai; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Alberto Noguera, Bipin Singh; Vikram Pratap Singh
The current form of Mumbai City FC also reflects their chances of winning this Durand Cup competition. It is being predicted that the Sky Blues will be able to maintain their undefeated streak against the Kolkata-based outfit too. However, East Bengal can’t be ruled out from the winning equation as they have nothing to lose from here.