Mumbai City vs East Bengal: Preview and Prediction
Matchday 10 of the Indian Super League brings two aggressive sides who recently played goalless draws onto the same battlefield as Mumbai City and East Bengal are all set to lock horns at the Mumbai Football Arena this Saturday at 8 pm IST.
Along with table-toppers Goa and heavyweights MBSG, Mumbai City remains one of the only three sides who are yet to be defeated in the 2023-24 ISL campaign. The newly arrived gaffer Petr Kratky will be eyeing to claim all three points and grab the second position in the league standings.
Carles Cuadrat is changing the fortunes of the Red and Gold Brigade with his tactical mastery as he has turned a bottom-placed side into a playoff contender. East Bengal has currently occupied 8th place in the table and a triumph in this fixture can bring them back into the Top 6.
In his ISL managerial debut, Petr Kratky clashed with the powerhouse of Goa and troubled the league leaders to eventually settle down for a draw.
The Islanders turned up for the away Fatorda fixture after accumulating a whopping tally of 13 goals in 6 games and got involved in a goalless saga for the very first time. It was the third instance in the 2023-24 season when the former ISL double champions were forced to share points with the opponents.
On the other hand, East Bengal also suffered a similar fate after previously registering an emphatic 5-0 triumph over NorthEast United.
The Torchbearers hosted the 10th-placed Punjab side in an intriguing battle that consummated on a final scoreline of 0-0 at Salt Lake Stadium. It was a forgettable outing for the EB attacking unit as they were thriving on a stellar goalscoring form and eventually managed to put up only a single shot on target.
The first-ever clash between these two high-profile outfits was staged in the 2018 edition of the Indian Super Cup where the eventual runners-up East Bengal eliminated their counterparts from the Round of 16.
Two years later the Torchbearers entered the ISL and have squared off against the Islanders 7 times in the Indian top-flight league. The Sky Blues are leading the head-to-head record of this rivalry with 4 triumphs while the Kolkata-based outfit has emerged victorious only twice.
East Bengal had to wait for a long time for their maiden ISL win over the Maharashtrian capital club as it took them six games to finally achieve it.
Interestingly it was also the most recent chapter of this rivalry which took place in February 2023 at Mumbai Football Arena. A 52nd-minute winning goal by the Indian starlet Naorem Mahesh Singh made all the difference which helped the Red and Gold Brigade to avenge the 3-0 home defeat earlier that season.
In the process of getting acquainted with the strengths and weaknesses of his roster, Kratky named an unchanged starting XI against the Gaurs and did not make any changes until half-time.
However, it is being speculated that the 42-year-old Czech manager will make plenty of changes to the Islanders’ lineup for the first full-fledged assignment of his coaching tenure. The most likely change can be the comeback of the Mizoram winger Lallianzuala Chhangte replacing Vikram Pratap Singh on the wings while Yoell van Nieff can be introduced to the starting lineup as well in place of Abdenasser El Khayati.
Despite showcasing a gloomy performance against the Northern Shers, Cuadrat might not make any changes in his lineup and entrust the same combination. Nishu who replaced the injured defender Harmanjot Khabra delivered an impressive performance and is likely to retain his place in the Starting XI. Khabra left the pitch on a stretcher during the NorthEast United game after suffering from a knee injury and the skipper is out for a long tenure.
Predicted Starting XIs
Mumbai City (4-3-3-): Phurba Lachenpa; Rahul Bheke, Rostyn Griffiths, Mehtab Singh, Akash Mishra; Apuia Ralte, Vinit Rai, Yoell van Nieff; Greg Stewart, Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Lallianzuala Chhangte
East Bengal (4-3-3): Prabhsukhan Singh Gill; Nishu Kumar, Lalchungnunga, Hijazi Maher, Mandar Rao Desai; Saul Crespo, Souvik Chakrabarti, Borja Herrera, Nandhakumar Sekar, Cleiton Silva, Naorem Mahesh Singh
The fans will get to see an enthralling football action between two in-form sides who love to score goals when their attacking unit gets going. An undefeated league record and home advantage favor the Sky Blues’ contention to win this contest and sustain their invincible run further.
It will be very interesting to see whether Cuadrat’s men learn from their offensive failures against Punjab and will be able to overcome the star-studded Mumbai defensive line or not.