Indian Super League, Round 6
Ahead of our clash with table toppers Mumbai City FC on Sunday, we take a quick look at the squads, the opponents’ form and the key players to look out for.
Mumbai City FC signed Sergio Lobera as their head coach ahead of this season’s ISL campaign. Having guided last season’s table toppers, FC Goa to the Super Cup title in 2019, the Spanish manager, who is in his fourth year in the ISL, brings a lot of experience to the league. His knowledge from managerial stints with clubs in Spain and Morocco will also contribute to Mumbai’s playing style this season.
Lobera brings in an attacking brand of football but his side is also adept at their defensive duties and are one of the most balanced sides in the current Indian Super League campaign.
Mumbai City FC have retained their core group of Indian players and made notable overseas signings like Bartholomew Ogbeche, Adam Le Fondre, Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh and Mourtada Fall. The likes of Mandar Rao Dessai, Farukh Chowdhury and Vikram Pratap Singh have also joined the Islanders.
Boumous, Jahouh, Fall and Mandar have played under Lobera’s management in FC Goa and their familiarity with his coaching style will be crucial to MCFC’s performance on Sunday.
Despite starting their 2020-21 campaign with a loss against NorthEast United, Lobera’s men have regained purpose as they are now on an undefeated run with consecutive wins against FC Goa, SC East Bengal, Odisha FC, Chennaiyin FC and a draw with Jamshedpur FC.
Mumbai City have dominated the majority of their games with attacking intent, quick passing and solid defence. Like Hyderabad FC, the Indian players in MCFC have also stepped up to support their foreign talents. The duo of Rowllin Borges and Ahmed Jahouh in the midfield will be key to MCFC’s chances on Sunday.
Ahmed Jahouh (MCFC)
With the distinction of having recorded the most number of passes in the last three seasons, the Moroccan midfielder sits in the Top 3 pass makers list, with a record of 371 passes paired with an accuracy of 80.16% so far this season. Jahouh’s control of the midfield and precise distribution of the ball has been instrumental in Mumbai’s strong performance. His ability to provide clinical passes, make frequent defensive interceptions and contribute to set-pieces will make him an all-round threat for Hyderabad FC.
Rowllin Borges (MCFC)
A key member of the Indian national team, Borges, has proved his mettle in the midfield for MCFC by partnering efficiently with Ahmed Jahouh. With 402 recorded passes and an accuracy of 83.33%, Borges has been a great support for the Islanders in the attacking third. He will test the Hyderabad backline through his effective passes, accurate positioning while the ability to break up play and regain possession will be a danger for HFC all around the field.
Adam le Fondre (MCFC)
English striker, Adam le Fondre has been influential as one of the main organizers of attacks for Mumbai City. He has showcased good link-up play, willingness to contribute in defence, commitment to run the length of the pitch and confidence in attack. His sharp movement and frequent attacking attempts will pose a challenge to the HFC defence. He is tied with Aridane in third place in the run for the Golden Boot with four goals thus making their faceoff an interesting contest as well.
Mohammad Yasir (HFC)
The young playmaker has proven to be one of the most impactful players in the midfield for Hyderabad FC. He has facilitated the attackers by creating constant chances with the help of his constructive crosses and well-positioned runs in the opponent box. His instinctive footwork, dangerous press, agility on the ball and effectiveness in set-pieces will be a menace for the MCFC defence.
Halicharan Narzary (HFC)
Coming into this game after scoring his first goal of the season against SC East Bengal, the Indian international will look to add more goals to the team’s tally on Sunday. A lively presence on either flank, Narzary collaborates well with Aridane and Liston to create threatening chances for Hyderabad FC. His organization in attack, linking-up abilities, technical passing and confident attempts on goal will make his clash with the Mumbai backline one to watch out for.
Asish Rai (HFC)
The young full-back has put on consistent performances for HFC with solid defensive contributions. Apart from fulfilling his defensive duties, Rai also pitches in on the other end of the field with his pacy runs and crosses. His crucial interceptions, clearances and solidity in the defence will be tested against the strong MCFC attack.