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Chennaiyin FC faces uphill task
Bozidar Bandovic’s men meet table-topper Mumbai City in ISL 8 contest
The meanest defense will come up against arguably the finest attack when Chennaiyin FC faces a high-flying Mumbai City FC in an Indian Super League 2021-22 fixture at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Wednesday
Led by a manager who prides himself on defensive stability – Bozidar Bandovic – Chennaiyin has shipped in only two goals from its opening four matches, which is the best in the League. His counterpart Des Buckingham lives and breathes attacking football, with Mumbai City bulging the net as many as 16 times in five outings at an average of more than 3.
CFC will have to execute its plan flawlessly against an intimidating MCFC offensive line to earn a positive result, stressed Bandovic. “If we concede chances to Mumbai, it will score. We need to play a perfect game in both defense and attack. Mumbai is a champion team, but I am thinking more about what we can do,” said Bandovic in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
Last season’s double winner Mumbai City is blessed with an array of attacking talent such as Spanish wizard Igor Angulo (5 goals), Brazilian marksman Ygor Catatau (3), thrill-a-minute winger Bipin Singh (2), and the promising Vikram Pratap Singh (2). Cassio Gabriel (1) of Brazil gives teeth to the MCFC attack by operating in the No.10 position.
“We have analyzed Mumbai; we have seen all its matches. Mumbai not only presses well but also moves the ball swiftly. It has technical players and good attackers in the team. But, I hope that we deliver a good performance,” added the 52-year-old Bandovic. Mumbai City has been on a scoring spree in ISL Season 8, but will have its work cut out against a disciplined Chennaiyin defense led by Slavko Damjanovic. “We expect another tough game against a very good team. CFC is the only unbeaten team in the League. It is a challenge that we are ready for,” said MCFC boss Des.
Mumbai City, which is on a three-match winning streak, is atop the ISL 2021-22 standings with 12 points from 5 matches while fifth-placed Chennaiyin has secured 8 points off 4 games.
“I am glad that we are on an unbeaten run. We need to go game by game. We need to remain stable to achieve success. I want the players to believe in themselves. I want them to play with freedom from the first minute. They should not wait until we concede a goal. We have been good in defending and transitional play, but we can attack better,” said Bandovic.
Tuesday’s result: Odisha FC 0 lost to Jamshedpur FC 4 (P Hartley 3, G Stewart 4, 21 & 35)