Zico's men have a wonderful opportunity to stretch their lead at the top with a win as league leaders FC Goa travel to face bottom-rankers Mumbai City FC at the DY Patil Stadium tonight. But a reinvigorated Mumbai side will prove to be a tough test as Blue Devils have the chance to go level on points with Atletico de Kolkata with a positive result.
Mumbai come into this game after grabbing their first win of the campaign as they ousted Delhi Dyamos 2-0. Sunil Chhetri, after a disappointing debut, finally announced his arrival to fans with a brace, while Sony Norde continued to wreak havoc in the attack.
The pair worked wonders for the Blue Devils, while the new defensive partnership of Darren O'Dea and Pavel Cmovs looked solid at the back. That performance has restored a lot of confidence in the squad and now with Anelka fit and available, Mumbai has the chance to use Goa as a springboard to start their climb.
Goa snapped up a lucky 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters in their last game as they were outplayed by their opponents in every part of the pitch. But Zico's men scored two goals, both against the run of play, and won their second match in a row following an embarrassing performance against Chennaiyin FC.
In a way, that win once again strengthened Goa's title credentials as champions often need to win ugly, even when they are not playing well. However, the biggest concern for Zico would be the fact that the Gaurs have failed to keep a clean-sheet in their last four matches – the absence of Lucio's leadership at the back has left a gaping hole.
Mumbai team news
Oscar Bruzone, assistant manager of Mumbai City FC, has confirmed that their marquee player-manager Nicolas Anelka has regained his fitness and is in contention to start against FC Goa. The Frenchman has been struggling with a groin injury and is yet to feature on the starting line-up for the Blue Devils.
Mumbai finally found the right team combination, which worked wonders against Delhi in their last game. Anelka is unlikely to make any changes to the starting line-up he used in that game.
The decision to pair Sony Norde and Sunil Chhetri provided great dividend and Anelka won't break that partnership. The former Arsenal and Real Madrid forward is likely to come off the bench against Goa, if and when the team needs him.
Midfielder Brandon Fernandes is yet to recover from his injury, and has been been ruled out for this game.
Goa team news
Zico is still without his team captain and marquee defender Lucio. The Brazilian center back has not featured in the last couple of matches, which has provided a chance for Luciano Sabrosa to establish himself at the center of the defense, alongside Gregory Arnolin.
CS Sabeeth remains injured as well, but the good news for Goa is the possible return of Jofre to the starting line-up. The former Atletico de Kolkata midfielder has recovered from the knock he picked up and could replace Reinaldo in attack for this game.
9 November, 2014: FC Goa 0-0 Mumbai City FC
17 November, 2014: Mumbai City FC 0-0 FC Goa
Mumbai City FC 2–2 FC Goa
Both the matches between these two teams ended goalless in the inaugural season, but that is unlikely to happen this time around. Expect this to be a high-scoring game with both the teams going for broke, and eventually settling for a point.
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