ISL 2019-20: Contrasting philosophies make Mumbai-Jamshedpur tie intriguing as teams look to consolidate in play-offs race
Thursday's clash will not only be an opportunity for Mumbai and Jamshedpur to consolidate in playoffs race but a showcase for the battle between contrasting footballing philosophies
Mumbai City FC look to consolidate their fourth spot in the ISL 2019-20 league table with a win over Jamshedpur FC
Mumbai's victory in the Thursday clash will eliminate Jamshedpur from the 2019-20 season
Mumbai secured a narrow 2-1 win over Jamshedpur when the last two teams met in the Jharkhand town
We are in the business end of the Indian Super League (ISL) as teams fight it out for the top four spots in the league which are also the playoffs spot — the gateway to the final and the title.
For some teams, it’s a formality but for others “it’s the most important game” of their life. And Mumbai City FC coach Jorge Costa, who is known for wearing his heart on his sleeve, didn’t shy away from acknowledging the significance of his side’s clash against Jamshedpur FC, on Thursday.
“I must give my best and the players must do their best and our job is to fight until the end to win. We need to be at our best to get the three points,” said the Portuguese tactician at the pre-match press conference as he plots Mumbai’s entry into the playoffs.
Goa are the only team to have qualified for the playoffs so far as they lead the league table with 33 points from 16 games. ATK and Bengaluru FC occupy the second and third positions respectively while Mumbai hold the fourth spot. But ATK and Bengaluru have a considerable lead over Mumbai and the other contenders and look almost a certainty for the knockouts.
The Islanders sit at the fourth position with 23 points from 15 games, with a lead of two points over Chennaiyin FC who have a game in hand. Odisha FC also have 21 points in the sixth spot while seventh-placed Jamshedpur still have a slim chance of qualification with 16 points from 14 games along with NorthEast United FC.
With only one spot in sight and multiple teams vying for it, Mumbai cannot expect a slip-up. Three points are not only desirable but a necessity as it will not only consolidate their position in the table but would also douse hopes of their competitors. The same is the case for the Red Miners but going by the current form of Costa’s side and unpleasant fortunes of Antonio Iriondo’s team, a positive result for Mumbai seems to be a strong possibility.
The 2019-20 season has been a case of contrasting fortunes for Mumbai and Jamshedpur. While the Jharkhand based club made a flying start to the league and led the table after initial rounds of games, Mumbai struggled to find their bearings, succumbing to embarrassing defeats.
The early days now seem like a distant dream as Costa, who is in his second season in ISL, scripted a comeback for Mumbai with a domestic double over defending champion Bengaluru. On the other hand, because of injuries to Jamshedpur’s key players like Sergio Castel and Piti, the club embarked on a downward slope as Iriondo, who is in his first year in ISL, failed to arrest the slide.
“We have been missing some very important players and that has contributed to our slump. If you see Goa, they are a top team, but they struggled to score against us when they were playing without one important player – Ferran Corominas,” said Iriondo on the eve of the match.
Mumbai come into the Thursday’s match on the back of a three-game unbeaten run which includes two crucial wins. Jamshedpur have lost their last two matches in a disappointing manner. Goal-scoring has also been a major concern for the Red Miners. But Castel's return has definitely soothed the pain. Farukh Choudhary, Aniket Jadhav and Aitor Monroy will look to give him the much-needed support in their next match.
Mumbai players have been having a good run recently. While star striker Modou Sougou will miss the match due to suspension, Amine Chermiti, Mohamed Larbi and Diego Carlos pose a lot of threat going forward. Rowllin Borges continues to lead the midfield and Subhasish Bose, Pratik Chaudhari’s availability will surely strengthen their defence, giving the host team a clear advantage.
Costa vs Iriondo
Every football match has subplots and the Mumbai-Jamshedpur tie has the battle between the coaches as the interesting thing to look forward to. Costa and Iriondo are not arch-rivals nor do they share a bloody past but still their contrasting philosophies make their meeting an intriguing affair.
While Costa has little love for ball possession and focuses more on defence, organisation and counter-attack, Iriondo is known for his love for the ball. His Jamshedpur side usually accounts for the lion's share of the ball possession in a contest. Passing, creating chances are the beacon of his style. On Thursday, the attack vs defence is expected to be the foundation of the much-anticipated show.
The last time these two teams met, Mumbai eked out a narrow 2-1 win away from home. And there's no doubt, along with the battle of survival it will also be a fight of revenge for Iriondo and Co.
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