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ISL Preview: Chennayin desperate to beat Mumbai City to seal semifinal spot

Photo Courtesy: ISL's official website
Photo Courtesy: ISL’s official website

Chennaiyin FC take on Mumbai City FC in their second last league fixture of the season at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai, looking to book a place in the semifinals of the 2015 Hero Indian Super League.

The Marina Machans, who finished at the top of the table last season, did not have the best of starts to the new campaign, suffering back-to-back defeats against Atletico de Kolkata and Delhi Dynamos in their opening two games.

They came back strongly in the next couple of fixtures, recording successive wins against FC Goa (4-0) and Mumbai City (2-0).

After registering a defeat, win and draw in their next three games against NorthEast United (0-2), Pune City (2-1) and Kerala Blasters (1-1), Marco Materazzi’s side’s form took a drastic dip as they suffered three successive defeats against Goa (2-0), NorthEast United (2-1) and Atletico de Kolkata (2-1).

However, convincing victories against the Kerala Blasters (4-1) and Delhi Dynamos (4-0) in their last couple of fixtures meant the Abhishek Bachchan co-owned side have given themselves a fighting chance of reaching the semifinals of the ISL.

Still, as they currently have only a total of sixteen points, they will need to win both their remaining fixtures to guarantee their place in the semi-finals.

The last time Chennaiyin played against Mumbai, they were able to record a comfortable 2-0 victory, courtesy a brace from Colombian striker Stiven Mendoza at the DY Patil Stadium .

Although the Marina Machans are again expected to beat Nicolas Anelka’s side, the fact that they will be playing in front of their own fans will add considerable pressure, as a slip up would mean the end of their 2015 ISL campaign.

Meanwhile, Mumbai City have nothing to play for expect perhaps pride as mathematically they have no chance of qualifying for the semifinals.

The Ranbir Kapoor co-owned team, who finished seventh in the ISL last season, have again been disappointing, recording only three wins this season.

After a poor start to the new season that saw them losing two and drawing one, the Blue Devils went on to record three successive victories in their next three fixtures.

However, since then, Anelka’s side have been in miserable form, picking up only three points from their last six games.

As a result, Mumbai’s chances of making it to the final four are effectively over despite them still having two more fixtures remaining.

Still, they will be hoping to get victories in both these fixtures and end the season with some dignity.

Players to Watch

Mendoza will definitely be Chennaiyin’s key player on Tuesday as the Colombian has been in fine form this season, netting 10 goals so far.

Centre-backs Raphael Augusto and Bernard Mendy, who have been miserly at the back this season letting in only 15 goals so far, will be the other important figures for the Marina Machans against Mumbai City on Tuesday.

Mumbai City FC will be heavily dependent on India captain Sunil Chhetri to provide them with the necessary fire-power at Chennayin. Despite the 31-year-old striker only managing six goals so far this season, he will be a major threat to the Chennaiyin back four.

Spanish playmaker Juan Aguilera will be the other important figure, as Mumbai try to cause an upset at Chennaiyin. The former Platanias midfielder bagged the Man-of-the-Match award after turning in a solid performance during his side’s last fixture, a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters.

Kick-off: 1900 IST

Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai

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