Goa, March 4: Mumbai City FC will have their task cut out when they take on Hyderabad FC in a do-or-die Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 fixture at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda on Saturday (March 5).
Mumbai, placed fifth in the points table with 31 points from 19 matches, will not only have to beat Hyderabad FC but also hope that fourth placed Kerala Blasters FC, who have two points more than them, lose to FC Goa on Sunday (March 6).
Jamshedpur FC, ATK Mohun Bagan and Hyderabad have sealed their semis berth, leaving Kerala and Mumbai to fight for that one remaining spot.
Mumbai lost to Kerala in a virtual face-off for that semis spot in their last outing, and now it is not in their hands to make the top-four.
"We are very much looking forward to the game against Hyderabad. I know it's not in our hands anymore. We will go out and do our best to put us in a position we want to be at the end of this game. Then we will see what happens the day after," Mumbai head coach Des Buckingham said.
The reigning champions will miss Lallianzuala Chhangte and Rahul Bheke with both out through suspensions. Meanwhile, midfielder Ahmed Jahouh is still recovering from his injury.
"This opens up opportunities for other players to fill in. We will go through that in training today," said Buckingham.
The defending champions started off the season well with 5 wins in their first 6 matches. At that point, everyone expected them to be the runaway favourites to retain the league shield and possibly win the tournament. Their only defeat in the first 6 games came against Hyderabad (3-1).
However, their first encounter with the Kerala Blasters derailed their season. They were comprehensively beaten 3-0. Following that defeat, they went an additional 6 matches without a win which saw them drop down from the top of the table.
A much-depleted Hyderabad faced a heavy defeat to Jamshedpur FC in their last game, resulting in them dropping to third place after staying at the top for more than a month.
Hyderabad missed Bartholomew Ogbeche and a host of other players in the last game and will now hope to get back to winning ways to keep up with the push for a top spot.
Hyderabad have 35 points from 19 matches with leaders Jamshedpur FC and second-placed ATK Mohun Bagan both on 37 points and it is likely that one of these two will finish top of the tree.
Jamshedpur also have one game in hand having played just 18 matches, while ATK Mohun Bagan and Hyderabad have played 19 matches each. But Hyderabad will want to do all they can to stay in the hunt for the top spot with a win on Saturday (March 5).
Hyderabad FC vs Mumbai City FC Match Prediction
The last time the two teams met, Hyderabad came out on top with a 3-1 win. However, in their 5 meetings head-to-head, Mumbai City FC have won twice, while two matches have ended in a draw and Hyderabad has claimed one win which came earlier this season.
On recent form, there is very little to separate the two sides as both teams head into their final league stage match on the back of three wins and two defeats in their last five matches.
Taking form, head-to-head and task at hand, Hyderabad FC may edge Mumbai City FC, who will look to throw all they have got to stay in contention for a semifinal spot.
Hyderabad FC vs Mumbai City FC Match Details
Kick off date and time: Saturday, March 5 at 9:30 PM IST
Venue: PJN Stadium in Fatorda, Goa
Live Channel: Star Sports Network - Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2HD and Star Sports 3
Live Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and Jio TV
Source: ISL Media