Mumbai City vs Hyderabad: Preview and Prediction
The caravan of Match Day 5 of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season brings an anticipated weekend clash where the two high-profile sides will be locking horns at the City of Dreams.
After a forgettable outing at the Asian club football’s biggest stage, Mumbai City is back at their fortress Mumbai Football Arena to aim for domestic glory. The Sky Blues will be summoned by the invading Nizams of Hyderabad in an intense clash this Super Saturday.
Only Odisha had managed to force the Maharashtrian outfit to drop points this season as they currently stand on seven points from three games. The Islanders led by the dashing gaffer Des Buckingham not only thrashed the triumph-chariot of Kerala Blasters but also proved that the boys in Sky Blues become even more dangerous at home.
The Indian top-flight league’s only domestic head coach Thangboi Singto’s tenure as the Hyderabad boss has come under the scanner as the Nizams have hugely underperformed in the initial phase. Deccan Legion can find their beloved club in the bottom-most position in the points table after failing to win a single point from the first three games.
Mumbai City has showcased an instrumental form in the domestic league this season after thriving on an unbeaten run in the first three fixtures of the season. Surprisingly, they have conceded four goals in three matches till now which is a very unusual start for a manager like Des Buckingham who is famous for his defensive rockness.
Amidst the mid-October break, the Islanders toured Saudi Arabia for the AFC Champions League clash and returned to the Maharashtrian capital city after suffering a 0-6 loss at the hands of the heavyweights Al-Hilal.
On the other hand, the Nizams from the land of Hyderabad are having the worst start to the ISL campaign since their debut season in 2019-20. After suffering from consecutive losing outcomes in the first two away fixtures, the Deccan Legion returned to their fortress Gachibowli Stadium in search of the season’s maiden points but the result still remained the same.
Despite having 68% of ball possession, Hyderabad still couldn’t break the deadlock in the recently concluded clash with Chennaiyin and eventually lost the tie by 0-1.
Head to Head Record
Ever since the newly founded Telangana-based outfit broke its way into the Indian top-flight league in 2019, they have indulged in a fierce rivalry with the Sky Blues. We have witnessed eight clashes between these two counterparts in the ISL to date and the head-to-head record stands equal at 2-2 while four encounters couldn’t produce any result.
When they squared off against each other for the first time in the previous season, the match turned out to be a six-goal fest and an 85th-minute equalizer from Albert Noguera forced the defending league champions to share points at home.
The 2022-23 ISL campaign took a blast off for both sides as they were seated on the points table’s pole position during their second encounter in the same season. The high-profile clash once again resulted in a point settlement as the Islanders sustained their commanding position on the top after going 10 points clear of their southern counterparts.
The foreign central defensive duo of Tiri and Rostyn Griffiths is likely to line up together at the kick-off of this forthcoming clash owing to the suspension of Yoell van Nieff. The Dutch holding midfielder’s red card against Kerala Blasters has opened the gates of the Mumbai lineup for the likes of Vinit Rai.
Des Buckingham’s key starters Rahul Bheke and Bipin Singh who were sidelined from the starting XI of the continental clash are also expected to make a comeback.
Hyderabad has relatively performed well in the defense and midfield department but a refreshing approach in the attacking unit is the need of the hour for the Yellow and Blacks. As a consequence of their offensive failures, gaffer Thangboi Singto is all set to hand the Costa Rican forward Jonathan Moya his first start in the HFC colors.
Meanwhile, the assailant Indian winger Mohammad Yasir must be expecting to be deployed on the right wing rather than the opposite flank where he could not perform up to the mark.
Predicted Starting XIs
Mumbai City (4-3-3): Phurba Lachenpa; Rahul Bheke ©, Tiri, Rostyn Griffiths, Akash Mishra; Vinit Rai, Apuia Ralte, Greg Stewart; Bipin Singh, Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Lallianzuala Chhangte
Hyderabad (4-2-3-1): Gurmeet Singh Chahal; Nikhil Poojary, Chinglansana Singh, Oswaldo Alanis, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy; Joao Victor ©, Sahil Tavora; Mohammad Yasir, Aaren D’Silva, Joe Knowles; Jonathan Moya
Mumbai City will be undoubtedly gracing the battlefield as favorites owing to their lethal current form and acquainted home conditions.
However, history suggests that the Nizams have always bravely clashed with Islanders as the ISL’s only double-champions’ last league triumph over Hyderabad came back in 2020. The Islanders will be eyeing to seal three points with a hefty goal margin.