Mumbai look to turn the tide in play-off battle against Goa

FC Goa has been the better team than Mumbai City FC in this edition of the Hero Indian Super League but there are no guarantees in the first leg semi-final at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday.

FC Goa defeated Mumbai City twice in the league stage. The first was a 5-0 hammering at Goa and then a convincing 2-0 victory in Mumbai. But even though Goa has been the better-equipped team with a 7-0 aggregate, Mumbai will hope for better results when both start with a clean slate in the knockout stage of the league.

“We have to see the reality. We have lost two games against FC Goa. I hope there will be a different story tomorrow. We made mistakes in the two games against FC Goa but we’ve learnt from it,” said Mumbai Jorge Costa. The 5-0 hammering in Goa spurred Mumbai as Costa challenged his side to punch above their weight. Mumbai launched a fine run that saw them even defeat leaders – and then undefeated – Bengaluru FC and will now hope to rediscover that form.

Goa have kept seven clean sheets against Mumbai over the course of five seasons now and have scored 19 goals against them. It is a second consecutive play-off appearance for Goa under Sergio Lobera and they will be determined to go one step further at least this time after being bundled out by eventual champions Chennaiyin FC last year.

Lobera’s men have once again mesmerised the league with their attacking brand of football which has seen them score a staggering 36 goals in 18 games. It is Ferran Corominas who has once again led Goa’s charge with the Spanish striker looking set to capture his second consecutive Golden Boot award. “The most important thing is our style of football. Of course, you have to take the opposition into account but we have to keep on working on what is our strength – our style,” said FC Goa assistant coach Jesus Tato.

While Corominas’ 15 goals have been the driving force behind Goa’s campaign, Modou Sogou has been the vital factor in Mumbai’s progression to the top four. The Senegalese striker’s 12 goals in the league stage is the highest tally registered by any Mumbai player in a single ISL campaign.

Sogou will be crucial to Costa’s plans for Mumbai in the crucial clash but the Portuguese coach’s own impact on the team cannot be underestimated. Costa has transformed Mumbai’s fortunes with his measured approach since taking over from Alexandre Guimaraes last summer. While all eyes will be on the two prolific front-men in Corominas and Sogou, Friday’s play-off clash will very much be battle for defensive supremacy. The two teams hold the joint second-best defensive records after the league stage and have conceded 20 goals each in their 18 clashes.

Can Costa’s men get their revenge or will Goa make amends for their play-off disappointment from last season? Plenty to look forward in the decisive clashes, starting with the opening battle in Mumbai.

– Courtesy ISL Media
Also Read: Indian U17 World Cup star to train at English Championship side Blackburn Rovers 
Also Read: Can FC Goa finish with a flourish
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian football.