Mumbai City vs Mohun Bagan Super Giant: Preview and Prediction
The quarterfinal saga of the 2023 Durand Cup moves to its final segment where two ISL heavyweights will be battling out for it as the last ticket to the semi-final round is on the line.
Mumbai City will be summoned by the reigning ISL champions Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the fourth quarter-final clash this Super Sunday. The high-profile clash will be hosted by the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan which is also the solitary venue for the rest of the knockout fixtures of this prestigious footballing event.
The West Coast Brigade came very close to winning their maiden Durand Cup glory in 2022 but eventually missed out by the shortest distance. It was the debut appearance of the Sky Blues at Asia’s oldest existing football competition and the Maharashtrian outfit went on to finish the maiden campaign as the runners-up. Des Buckingham and his Islanders are once again ready to storm the knockout stages after having won all three group fixtures in a convincing manner.
Despite losing a crucial Kolkata Derby fixture against East Bengal, MBSG has still made it to the knockout round after delivering the second-best performance among all group runner-ups. The Mariners were also drawn into the same group as their current opponent in the previous edition but were barred from quarter-final qualification on the basis of head-to-head with Rajasthan United. The reigning ISL champions are high-spirited for extending their triumphant run to this prestigious cup competition and bringing the trophy home after 23 years.
Mumbai has showcased an astonishing goal-scoring form in the group stages after having scored a whopping number of 12 goals and a positive goal difference of 11 in just three games. A 42nd-minute strike from Mohammedan forward David Lalhlansanga in the opening fixture still remains the only goal conceded by the former ISL double-champions in this edition. The Sky Blues also crushed the only ISL outfit from their group Jamshedpur and registered an emphatic 5-0 victory over the Red Miners.
On the other hand, Super Giants also kick-started their Durand Cup campaign with a thumping triumph over the foreign opponents Bangladesh Army on a final scoreline of 5-0. It was followed by another winning outcome against the newly promoted Punjab at Kishore Bharati Krirangan which brought them closer to quarterfinal qualification. However, the Kolkata Mariners could not sustain their triumph-chariot against the arch-rivals East Bengal and were edged out by a solitary winning goal from Nandhakumar Sekar.
Mumbai City and MBSG are considered the two biggest football entities in the country right now and are always considered title favorites owing to their star-studded rosters. Interestingly, both of these clubs have faced each other eight times across all competitions and the head-to-head record of those encounters is thoroughly dominated by the Sky Blues who have emerged victorious on five occasions while the Mariners are yet to register their first triumph over the Maharashtrian capital.
When the grand merger of Kolkata’s two biggest footballing entities happened, the Islanders bolstered by the acquisition of City Football Group stood as the biggest opponent for ATK Mohun Bagan. ISL Shield and Championship, both of the premier Indian top-flight titles of the 2020-21 season were snatched from the paws of the Green and Maroons by the Mumbaikars.
These two combatants have also shared the same battlefield in the Durand Cup during the previous edition A first-half goal from Lison Colaco kept Mohun Bagan in the commanding position for the majority of the play however, a 77th-minute equalizer from the Argentine striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz forced the hosts to share the crucial points at VYBK Arena.
Mumbai gaffer Des Buckingham is expected to name an unchanged XI avoiding any changes in the lineup which previously trumped the Indian Navy side by 4-0. The 26-year-old Mizo winger Lallianzuala Chhangte who recently made a return to the Starting XI is likely to retain his place in the forward line along with Diaz and Stewart.
After making his debut in Sky Blues colors against Mohammedan, the assailant left-back Akash Mishra has been absent from the matchday squad for the last two games and there is still no clearance from team management on his return to the action.
Juan Ferrando was rotating his squad throughout the group stages and only fielded his strongest lineup in the most recent Durand Cup fixture with East Bengal.
As qualification for the AFC Cup group stage has already been achieved, the Kolkata-based outfit will be now fielding a full-strength squad to hunt for the prestigious honor. We may get to see MBSG’s star 28-year-old Aussie striker Jason Cummings making his first Durand Cup start and taking charge of the offensive unit in the knockouts.
Predicted Starting XIs
Mumbai City (3-4-3): Phurba Lachenpa; Rahul Bheke ©, Yoell van Nieff, Mehtab Singh Sandhu; Bipin Singh, Apuia Ralte, Alberto Noguera, Vikram Pratap Singh; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Greg Stewart
Mohun Bagan Super Giant (4-2-3-1): Vishal Kaith; Asish Rai, Anwar Ali, Brendan Hamill, Subhasish Bose ©; Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad; Liston Colaco, Hugo Boumous, Jason Cummings; Armando Sadiku
It will be an epic clash when the tournament’s deadliest attacking side will be taking on the MBSG defensive unit which has only conceded one goal in this competition till now. However, Mumbai’s defensive line has also performed exceptionally well throughout the campaign while the Green and Maroons remained goalless against quality opposition like East Bengal.