Mumbai City FC gear up for ‘Maha’ derby against FC Pune City

Mumbai City FC face FC Pune City at Navi Mumbai’s D.Y. Patil stadium later today as the two sides battle for local bragging rights. Mumbai City FC will have fond memories of their clash with FC Pune City at home after a Andre Moritz hat-trick fired them to a 5-1 win in the corresponding fixture last season.

However FC Pune City have since beaten Mumbai City FC twice which includes a 3-1 win over Nicolas Anelka’s men earlier this season. But Mumbai City FC will be hoping home advantage makes the difference for then once again and the Mumbaikars get back to winning ways against their arch rivals.

Nicolas Anelka is worried about his team’s unpredictability as Mumbai City FC gear up for the Maha Derby against FC Pune City in a 10th round clash of the Hero Indian Super League in Navi Mumbai on Friday.

Mumbai City are placed sixth at the moment with 11 points from eight matches. With a match in hand, they are just four points adrift of league leaders FC Goa but Mumbai’s marquee-player-cum-manager is more concerned about how unpredictable his team has fared in the first leg of the league.

“I believe we can do better than the away game we had in Pune but the Mumbai team is unpredictable. We can be very good on our day and we can also be very poor. That’s not a good point but I hope we will see the very good face of Mumbai against Pune tomorrow,” said Anelkaon the eve of the match.

For the opening round away match against FC Pune City, Mumbai City had missed the service of Sunil Chhetri and Subrata Paul. Anelka once again finds himself in similar situation with his star striker and goalkeeper on national duty. To add to his woes, Sony Norde too has flown back to join his national duty and will miss two match.

“They are good players, so of course we will miss them. But the team is ready and we will try our best to do the job without them,” said the former Real Madrid and Chelsea star.

Anelka himself has not been at his best this season and promised to do more in the second phase. “I have been training well and think I will need more minutes on the pitch to be fitter. But, yes, you can expect to see more of me in the second part of ISL,” explained Anelka.

FC Pune City’s away form has been of concern as they have been unable to win any of their three matches played away from home. They lost against Chennaiyin FC and drew against Kerala Blasters and FC Goa.

Manager David Platt, though, is not worried.

“We have only played three games away from home and it has been difficult. In Chennai, although we could have been out of the game in the first half, we finished well and could have got something. In Goa again we finished well. The only real performance we have had all season that displeased me totally was Kerala away, but it was our fourth match in 11 days with three of them being away,” explained the former Manchester City assistant coach.

Pune City made a good start to their campaign and were largely expected to steal their place in the semifinals ahead of others. That has not happened and Pune find themselves in second place behind FC Goa and tied on points with Delhi Dynamos.

“Every team has gone through a patch where they have not been at their best. The parity in the league means there are no favourites, so others expectations have no consequence with me,” said Platt.

“Mumbai City will be a difficult game for us, away from home against a team that is there or thereabouts, so we will have to be disciplined in our play and confident to get the result,” said Platt.

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