Depleted Mumbai and Pune FC gunning for bragging rights in the Maharashtra Derby

Mumbai FC will look to claim the bragging rights with a win over rivals Pune FC when the duo clash at Cooperage on 22nd March 2015 in the 9th round of fixtures for both the clubs.

Some sheen has been taken off this clash with vital players missing in both the camps which include top scorers of both teams in Josimar Da Silva of Mumbai who misses out due to a suspension after he collected his second yellow card for the season and the I-League top scorer Thongkhoiseim Haokip who is away on international duty with the Indian U-23 squad.

Jayesh Rane who has been Mumbai FC’s shining light throughout this season also misses out as he teams up with Haokip for the Indian U-23 squad camp. Pune FC’s first choice goalkeeper Amrinder Singh and midfielder Nikhil Kadam are also having national commitments and remain out of contention.

Pune FC will also be without winger Anthony D’Souza and Ryujki Sueoka who are nursing injuries. For the hosts, veteran midfielder Climax Lawrence is doubtful as he continues his recovery from an injury.

Pune FC came out on top when these two sides met in thee reverse fixture. It was a close game which tomorrow’s visitors edged by a margin of 3-2 at the Balewadi Sports Complex.

But tomorrow’s derby has a totally new flavor to it with the clash taking place at Cooperage where Mumbai FC are unbeaten this season, winning two and drawing two in the process.

Pune FC though have the upper hand in terms of the head to heads, winning five out of the eleven games, compared to Mumbai FC’s two wins, while four encounters have ended all square.

Mumbai FC manager Khalid Jamil believes Josimar will be a miss but expects his side to cope well without the lethal Brazilian. “Josimar is our main striker and we will miss him, but such things happen in football. During the break we tried out our different strikers and mostly Milagres Gonsalves or Cletus Paul will replace Josimar and I am sure they will deliver against Pune tomorrow”.

Karim Bencherifa, the head coach of Pune FC expects a tough outing for his boys against Mumbai FC tomorrow. “I have watched a few Mumbai FC games and they are difficult team to play against. They are a good, compact side and we don’t expect an easy game”.

A win for Mumbai FC will take them in the 4th place and just a point behind Pune FC, while an away win would see the Pune side go top of the I-League charts. Pune FC will leapfrog Mohun Bagan into second place and Mumbai will stay sixth if the game ends all square.

There is always an extra bit to the Maharashtra Derby and tomorrow will be no different with such high stakes. It will be a first Maharashtra Derby at Cooperage after many years and the atmosphere will be electric come sunset at the city’s iconic ground.

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