New look NEUFC seeks confident start against high-flying Mumbai City FC

New look NEUFC seeks confident start against high-flying Mumbai City FC

NEUFC will be eyeing a revival of fortunes from last season as they commence their ISL 2023-24 campaign by hosting Mumbai City FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Sunday, September 24.

The Highlanders had a dismal campaign last year as they won only once in 20 league matches and are on a nine-game winless streak in the league currently. The team will be hoping to end that forgettable stretch against Mumbai, who have lost the most opening-day fixtures (5) amongst all teams in the ISL.

The Islanders did the league double against NorthEast United FC by scoring a combined seven goals in their two games last season. Their incredible record of netting in each of their last 13 away matches should encourage them against a new-look opposition that has a point to prove this year.

Key Players

Pragyan Gogoi (NorthEast United FC)

Pragyan Gogoi recorded a 75% passing accuracy whilst dictating play from the centre of the park last season. The majority of Mumbai’s attacking endeavours emerge from the middle, having attempted the most through-balls (28) amongst all teams in ISL 2022-23. Gogoi will be crucial if NorthEast hopes to put a halt to that in this game.

Lallianzuala Chhangte (Mumbai City FC)

Lallianzuala Chhangte has bagged several laurels lately and he will be returning to his old hunting ground in Guwahati for this game. The winger registered the best differential between expected goals (6.36) and the actual goals scored (10, i.e. +3.63 x G value) amongst Indian players last season. Chhangte will be hoping to get into the thick of things instantly in this campaign too.

Head-to-Head

Played – 18

Mumbai City FC – 9

NorthEast United FC – 5

Draws – 4

Team Talk

“It’s the first game of the ISL for us against a very strong adversary, one of the best teams in the league. Everybody is mentally ready for the game. We are waiting for it. We are hoping for an interesting game, you know. We have been working for the last two-and-a-half months. Slowly, the team becomes aware of the individual responsibilities that they have. We are 70% of our potential at this moment. We still need time but the time has arrived to play. We are here to compete and not to have fun. It’s a great game tomorrow and we hope we are ready for it,” NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali spoke about the upcoming season and his team’s preparation for the same.

“I think it’s more important that we focus on what we did last year and now we look to build upon the wonderful season that we had in the ISL last year. Not only am I seeing the results, 18 games unbeaten that won us the League Shield, most goals scored, most goals scored by Indian players and so on. But now, it’s the start of the football that we play. It’s my third season here. Now, it’s upon building upon that success. We are excited to get our season underway and see what we can do this year,” Mumbai City FC tactician Buckingham touched upon his expectations from the 2023/24 campaign of the ISL.

Also Read: Punjab FC Announces Squad for Indian Super league 2023-24

Also Read: Sulanjana Raul: The prolific scorer, who aims to emulate Sunil Chhetri

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