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ISL: Mumbai face NorthEast United as top-four race heats up

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Press Trust of India Mumbai
Hosts Mumbai City FC will be eyeing a win when they take on laggards NorthEast United FC in an Indian Super League game here on Friday, even as the race for the top four slots gets closer.
Mumbai has not won the coveted championship so far and hence would be more than eager to be in the top four first and stay in the hunt for their first title.
The hosts have four games to go in the league stage and more importantly three are to be played in front of the home crowd at the Mumbai Football Arena.
Mumbai, placed fifth with 20 points, had a topsy-turvy campaign so far.
They have won five of the 14 games while drawing five and losing four games.
A win would help them bag three points and more importantly aid them to move up in the table.
So when the Jorge Costa-managed team take field, that would be the only thing on their mind.
For Mumbai, their highest goal scorer in the season Tunisian Amine Chermiti (five goals from 13 matches), will have to put up another spirited show and so would Modou Sougou, who had a lackluster season by his standards having netted only thrice from 11 games.
If Sougou plays to his potential and fires on all cylinders, he can single-handedly win the game for the home side, as he has done it in the past.
Apart from Sougou and Chermiti, Mumbai have forwards like Pranjal Bhumij and Alen Dorby, who can be quite a handful for the rival defence.
Injured Paulo Machado is out for the entire season, but their other mid-fielders like Raynier Fernandes, Diego Carlos, Rowlin Borges and Bipin Singh, who have a goal each this season, have done well and they would be more than eager to add to their tally and support the likes of Sougou and Chermiti.
Another important cog in Mumbai's midfield is Mohammed Larbi, who has two goals to his name this season and his role will also be crucial.
Mumbai's goal-scoring ability is never a concern, but their defence is definitely one.
With Pratik Chaudhari suspended for the game on Friday as he has four yellow cards and Souvik Chakrabarti having moved to Hyderabad FC, the Mumbai line-up will be manned by Mato Gregic, Anwar Ali, Subhasish Bose and Sarthak Golui.
They will have to pull up their socks and put up an improved show.
Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh has 36 saves from 14 matches and would be hoping for another clean-sheet on Friday.
Meanwhile, the NorthEast outfit is languishing in ninth spot with just 11 points from 12 games, of which they have only won two, drawn five and also lost five games.
NorthEast United goal-keeper Subhasish Roy has 45 saves from 11 matches, the maximum this season and if the Mumbai strikers are to be kept at bay, he would play a decisive role.
The highlanders would also bank heavily on their top goal-scorer Asamoah Gyan (four goals) to come good one more time.
While the game's result would have no bearing on the fortunes of NorthEast United, it would surely impact Mumbai's chances.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Jan 30 2020 | 2:20 PM IST

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