Chennaiyin FC will go up against the in-form team in the Indian Super League when they face table-toppers Mumbai City FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Monday evening.
Csaba Laszlo’s Chennaiyin suffered a heart-breaking last-minute loss to ATK Mohun Bagan in their previous outing, while Sergio Lobera’s Mumbai City beat SC East Bengal by a solitary goal in their last game.
If the Marina Machans manage to scalp all three points against the Islanders, it will be only the second time the latter lose in the current campaign, unbeaten in their last 11 outings following the opening day defeat to NorthEast United FC. The chance to break this record will surely motivate CFC, who have managed to keep an impressive five clean sheets so far this season.
With creative midfielder Rafael Crivellaro ruled out for the season and back in Brazil following injury, Laszlo and the Chennaiyin faithful will be hopeful of Anirudh Thapa being available for the crunch clash against MCFC. The influential Indian midfielder missed the previous game after he sustained an injury in the 0-0 draw against SC East Bengal on January 18.
The reverse encounter between both sides ended 2-1 in favour of Mumbai, however the tale of the match was quite different from the outcome. Chennaiyin dominated proceedings that December evening, however goals from two set-pieces against the run of play handed Lobera’s men a fortuitous victory.
There’s ample inspiration CFC can take from that performance and strive for victory on Monday. For that to happen, they will have to be decisive at both ends of the pitch and find that creative spark in midfield. Having conceded six goals so far from set-pieces, Laszlo and his coaching staff will be drilling down the instructions to ensure his team finds the concentration that has been lacking. And at the other end in the Mumbai box, the likes of Isma Goncalves and Jakub Sylvestr will be hopeful of taking their chances. Up until this moment, chance creation has not been a concern for Laszlo’s attack, it has been their profligacy in front of goal in converting those chances.
It’s all to play for as both sides clash in Bambolim. A win could take CFC into the top-four reckoning while a victory for MCFC will see them maintain the five-point lead over ATK Mohun Bagan at the top of the standings.