Mumbai FC and Salgaocar will be looking for the first win of the season when they face each other in the fourth round of I-League football at the Balewadi Sports Complex here Friday.
Mumbai FC, who survived relegation by a whisker, are yet to open their account while Salgaocar are a tad better with two draws. Mumbai are 13th while Salgaocar 11th position in the points table.
Not that Mumbai hasn’t played well, but they lack consistency. They almost had Pune FC on the knees before going down 2-3. Before that, in the first round, they lost by the same margin against Pailan Arrows.
In the last match, against Churchill Brothers, they lost 1-3. The defeats have left coach Khalid Jamil at a loss as to what really is preventing his team from winning the matches.
Against Churchill, though Yusif Yakubu, Nicholas Rodrigues and Ndibuisi Opara worked hard upfront to create several opportunities, the team never looked confident enough for a victory.
Mumbai FC scored an own goal through Abhishek Yadav, who was playing as a defender and after being down 0-2, it was Yakubu who pulled one back. A red card for Evans Quao in the first half had already put Mumbai on the back foot.
“We made silly mistakes in all the last three matches. We are now ready to move on and get our campaign back on track,” said Jamil.
“We are desperately looking for our first win. Boys are all geared up to take on Salgaocar and I hope the result will be in our favour,” the coach tried to sound confident.
Jamil had made five changes from the team that faced Pune FC, handing Yusif Yakubu a start alongside former Churchill Brothers striker Opara. And, since that too didn’t work, it would be interesting to see the line-up Jamil comes up with against Salgaocar.
With Evans already carrying a red card, it will be on Justin Stephen, Peter Costa and William Colaco to provide the first line of defence. But at the end, it will be Yakubu and Opara who will hold the key.
Salgaocar are the only Goan outfit that hasn’t won a match yet-a dubious record that assistant coach Peter Valles would like to change at once.
“We’ve had good preparation having played three matches in Goa League,” Valles said after the team practice early Friday morning.
Despite failing to win a match, Valles said that the boys were confident ahead of the Mumbai match.
“We are making no changes in the team that last played a goalless draw against Pailan Arrows at home. Royston D’Souza and Collin Abranches have been in good form and did well in the Goan League matches,” he said.
Valles feels that these two players will make the difference on Saturday.
“We are well-prepared to take on Mumbai FC,” declared Valles before walking off the field.