ISL 2020-21: Mumbai City FC treating ATK Mohun Bagan clash like a final, says CY Goddard

Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan have both breezed into the playoffs of this season’s Indian Super League. But both teams have a chance to end the league stage at the top of the standings on Sunday

FP Sports February 28, 2021 11:01:51 IST
ISL 2020-21: Mumbai City FC treating ATK Mohun Bagan clash like a final, says CY Goddard

CY Goddard of Mumbai City FC celebrates after scoring his debut goal in the Indian Super League against Odisha FC on Wednesday. Image courtesy: Sportzpics for ISL

Mumbai: Mumbai City FC may have already breezed into the playoffs of this season’s Indian Super League, but Cy Goddard believes that the team need to beat ATK Mohun Bagan in their ‘massive’ game on Sunday, which will decide which team ends the league stage at the top of the standings.

“This game is like a final (for us). Whoever wins this game, wins the league. We’ve really have nothing to lose.

“When we started the season, our ambition was to come first in the league. We really want to win this. It’s a massive game for us. And for them as well,” Goddard told Firstpost. “Our objective wasn’t just to reach the playoffs. It was to win the league. I wouldn’t say we’re happy by making it to the playoffs, we want to win the league.”

The two teams have met once before in this season, with Mumbai eking out a 1-0 victory. The circumstances foreshadowing both clashes couldn’t be more different. Back in January, when the two sides met, Mumbai were at the top of the standings with ATK Mohun Bagan snapping at their heels.

Mumbai went into that clash in January on the back of an eight-game unbeaten streak. However, they’re currently second in the standings, with a wobble early in February which saw them drop eight points.

“For any team, it’s not always going to be smooth sailing (in a league). If you look at the top teams too, they will go through spells like this. There are only 20 games in regular season in this league. A couple of slip-ups in a row can put you in a bad situation. You can’t really win every game. You’ve got to have a lot of luck to sail smoothly in the season. Even if you’re a top team there are going to be spells where you have to come through. We believe in ourselves. We believe in our quality.

“It’s all about belief for us. We know when we are playing well, on our day, we’ll beat most teams.”

Off-the-pitch difficulties

The loan move for Goddard was announced just over a month before the season started in a bio-secure bubble in Goa. But despite the cultural shift of having to play in a new league, under a new manager, with new teammates with barely any pre-season, Goddard has made his mark, playing in 18 out of Mumbai’s 19 games so far, as a part of Sergio Lobera's midfield or on the wings.

“It’s not easy for anyone joining a new team and new environment. Of course, there are going to be some challenges in the way,” said the 23-year-old. “Because the pre-season was so short, we didn’t have the time we would have liked to prepare for the start of the season. But that’s the same with all teams. For most people that was the hardest thing. And now, the season’s being going on probably in a bio-secure bubble, where you cannot see your family or friends. That’s probably the second thing that’s very challenging.”

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