Mumbai, December 5: Mumbai City FC will be eager to continue to their slow yet steady rise this season when they take on champions Chennaiyin FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday (December 6).
After a terrible start, the Islanders have shown excellent resilience to stitch together a string of fine results that see them placed fourth on the points table, a point clear of fifth-placed Jamshedpur FC who missed out on an opportunity to join the top-four on Tuesday after their draw against Kerala Blasters.
The Jorge Costa-coached side has won four and drawn one in their five games post their humiliation to FC Goa in game week four that saw their head coach run in a number of changes to the side. The biggest of the changes were effected in the backline where Costa chose to go with the 27-year-old Joyner Lourenco instead of Serbian Marko Klisura as Lucian Goian's partner in the heart of the defence.
Lourenco, in return, has proven his worth in the games helping his sides to four clean sheets. And against Chennaiyin on Thursday, if things are to go as per plan, expect nothing to change.
Goalscoring, however, continues to be a problem for the hosts as their attackers have failed to find the back of the net as often as they would have liked. Mumbai has scored just four goals at home, joint-lowest in the league with ATK, and the trio of Paulo Machado, Rafael Bastos and Arnold Issoko has somewhat fallen off the radar off late.
Chenniayin, a team that has endured the worst possible start to their title defence, will be eager to make the most of these frailties when they line-up against a team that has already got the better of them in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
While not much has gone the champions' way this season with most of their star players going through a lean patch, the duo of Thoi Singh and Isaac Vanmalsawma have given the John Gregory-coached side some hopes of resurrection. But can they spur a team, low on confidence past the finish line remains to be seen.
Match kicks off at 7:30pm IST
Live on Star Sports
Live Streaming on Hotstar