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I-League: Mumbai FC eager to build on winning run; face Bagan challenge

I-League: Mumbai FC eager to build on winning run; face Bagan challenge

Mumbai FC are eager to build on their winning run when they take on Mohun Bagan in an I-League Round-14 encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.

A re-energized Mumbai FC side has been in top form recently beating heavyweights East Bengal 3-2 and then Pune FC 2-1 to clinch the Maha-Derby in the last two games.

Mumbai FC (14 pts) are currently locked with Mohun Bagan (8th) and East Bengal (7th) on points. But with goal-difference coming into picture in a three-way tie, Mumbai FC are ninth behind the two Kolkata-giants.

Thus, a win on Wednesday will propel Mumbai FC into the top-half of the table as the league enters its second-phase.

Coach Khalid Jamil has been very satisfied with the team’s performance during the last week and expects a similar display against Bagan. In the interim, Jamil has also praised the influence the new and experienced players have had on the team and expects them to lead from the front.

On matchday, a lot will depend on the attacking trio of strikers Yusif Yakubu, Mohammed Rafi and medio N. P. Pradeep. Yakubu and Pradeep have been in top form getting their names on the scoresheet in both previous games.

On the team news front, midfielder and Afghan-international Ahmad Arash Hatifie returns to the squad after serving his one game suspension for a sending off against East Bengal and may start in the midfield.

New arrival, defender Sandesh Jhingan, too has settled into the team and will form a strong backline along with Anwar Ali, Khelemba Meetei and Haroon Amiri. The defense will need to be at its best as they face Bagan’s strike force consisting of Nigerian Odafa Okolie and Christopher Chizoba who shared three goals between them in the previous game.

There aren’t any major injury concerns ahead of the game and majority of the players are available for selection.

Over the years, both sides have met twelve times with Bagan winning six compared to Mumbai FC’s three wins. Mumbai FC will be keen on improving this record whilst also taking revenge for a 1-0 loss at home earlier in the season.

The game kicks off at 1.45 pm on Wednesday.

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