Mumbai, October 1: After a disappointing season that saw them finish seventh in the league, Mumbai City FC will resume their quest for a title when they take on Jamshedpur FC in their opening game of the Indian Super League (ISL) on Tuesday (October 2).
Having parted ways with head coach Alexandre Guimarães after last season's disappointment, Mumbai roped in former Portugal international Jorge Costa as their new man in-charge. Costa, who famously led FC Porto to the UEFA Champions League victory under Jose Mourinho, is know to be a pragmatic coach, the one who has his eyes set on winning the game no matter the cost of it. Moreover, being a central defender all his life, it's no surprise that the teams he's coached in the past -SC Olhanense, SC Braga and the Gabon national team to name a few - boast of an excellent defensive line.
New season. Same passion. Can't wait to see all you guys at the Mumbai Football Arena on Tuesday for our first game of the season!— Amrinder Singh (@Amrinder_1) September 29, 2018
Come, support us, get behind us, and we promise to give everything we have! 💪🏻🔵 #ApunKaTeam pic.twitter.com/Qra9S5EHH2
It will not come as a surprise if we witness a similar pattern at Mumbai, with the massive overhaul of the squad for the season indicating the same.
Skipper Lucian Goian is the only foreign player to have been retained in the side and is expected to lead the backline this time too. Partnering him at the back could be Anwar Ali for their opening game as sources inside the team suggest that latest centre back recruit Marko Klisura is still to settle into Costa's style of play.
Full-backs is a position that has seen a complete overhaul for Mumbai and with the likes of Subhasish Bose, Souvik Chakrabarti, Shouvik Ghosh and Arnold Issko coming in, it would be interesting to see who Costa prefers when they line up against Jamshedpur at the Mumbai Football Arena.
But unlike their defence that looks a little weak in the centre, the Mumbai midifield boast of a host of talent that can help the Islanders challenge the best in the league this season. Leading this line of midfielders will be the former FC Porto and Olympiakos man Paulo Machado. The 32-year-old central midfielder is expected to partner Matias Mirabaje in the middle of the park while Modou Sougou, a former Marseille winger, and Sanju Pradhan could take up the duties of either sides of the pitch.
Mumbai's reinforcement doesn't end there. The Islanders have brought in Brazilian striker Rafael Bastos with a hope to solving this goal-scoring crisis. Bastos has been a journeyman having played widely across Asia for clubs likes Buriram United, Kuwait SC, Al Nassr and Hatta Club to name a few. Bastos will have the support of Alen Deory, a forward who impressive during his time at Shillong Lajong in the I-League.
Pushing the Islanders on Tuesday (October 2), will be Jamshedpur FC who come into this season after a fine performance in their debut last season.
Though Uruguayan Cesar Fernando has taken over from Steve Coppell as the head coach of the team, Jamshedpur once again look like a formidable outfit this time. And leading this bunch will the Australian legend Tim Cahill.
The former Everton man has been the biggest signing of this season's ISL, but it still remains to be seen how he copes up with the challenges that Indian football posts given his age of 38. Though Cahill is set to miss the Mumbai game due to a suspension, Jamshedpur will have the likes of Spaniards Sergio Cidoncha upfront and Carlos Calvo and Pablo Morgado on the wings to trouble the Mumbai back line.
Jamshedpur has been smart in signing their Indian contingent as well. Bringing on the likes of Dhanachandra Singh - from champions Chennaiyin FC - and Michael Soosairaj from Chennai City FC.
Jamshedpur prided in having one of the stringent defences last season. But with the departure of Andre Bikey and Anas Edathodika it will be an opportunity for Mumbai to test their backline and try getting their campaign off to a fine start.
Match kicks off at 7:30pm IST
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