Preview: Two of the stingiest defences of the Indian Super League season four will clash in what is expected to be a tactical battle between wily coaches Alexandre Guimarães and Steve Coppell at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Friday.
Home side Jamshedpur FC have let in just two goals in seven encounters, with Subrata Pal keeping five cleansheets in the process.
As for Mumbai City, they've conceded seven goals — five of these have been away from home.
The two teams are separated by just four points, but Jamshedpur have played a game less. If they win, they will make significant ground towards the top four from their current sixth place.
But here's where the teams can really be separated; Jamshedpur have scored just twice in the entire league so far, and Mumbai City have hammered 11 goals. And Coppell is rightfully worried about the statistic.
"I hope (that we can score goals). I am exactly like every supporter who comes to games and am desperate to see the team score goals. It hasn't happened so far but I am confident that we will score. The sooner the better, and it is a big priority for us.
"But again, you have to appreciate that defensively, we are strong. We have to find balance, be more potent going forward without losing defensively. The intent is there and the players are giving everything," Coppell said.
Coppell also said he wasn't worried about the playing conditions. There have been complaints about the uneven pitch here, but the Englishman said that "the pitch is the pitch, it is not going to suddenly transform." He added that his side will "play on anything."
Guimarães said that there was immense respect for the way Jamshedpur were organised.
"The team fights very hard to recover the ball and fill spaces in defence. We have to understand that we have to work the game in a way to find gaps, it is difficult but I am glad that we did that in the last game, when we took profit of certain situations. That is important in these type of games," he said.
Guimarães is also aware that Jamshedpur will try and shut down their creative force Achille Emana. The Cameroonian has scored one goal and provided four assists in eight matches. He is also Mumbai City's playmaker with 304 passes and 406 touches.
Emana and Mumbai's top-scorer Balwant Singh (five goals) will have to be at their best against a resilient side which defends confidently and will try to hit the away side on the break.
With inputs from IANS
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Updated Date: Jan 05, 2018 22:09:58 IST