ISL 2020-21: Mumbai City take on Bengaluru FC with an eye on AFC Champions League spot
Mumbai City need to finish at the top of the league to earn the AFC Champions League spot.
Bambolim: Mumbai City FC were the first to seal their berth in the play-offs of the Indian Super League but they can ill-afford to be complacent when they take on a struggling Bengaluru FC on Monday.
Mumbai City and ATK Mohun Bagan have already qualified for the play-offs but there is another prize at stake also. The team which lifts the ISL League Winners Shield by topping the league stage points standings will get an automatic berth in the group stage of the prestigious AFC Champions League.
Mumbai City have been in pole position for the most part of the season. However, their recent form has seen them drop crucial points and has put their top spot at risk.
The Islanders' last four games have seen their worst statistics this season. They have failed to keep a single clean sheet in those games and have conceded seven goals, compared to just four conceded in the previous 12 games.
Head coach Sergio Lobera is aware his side cannot have any more slip-ups as they eye an AFC Champions League spot. The Spaniard is also aware of the potential threat his side faces against BFC.
"Every game is difficult and playing with BFC is difficult because they are a team of very good players. They have motivation after the arrival of the new coach. It's difficult but we can with this, said Lobera.
I think we are in a very good situation because we have done a good job before and it's always possible to improve and learn from our mistakes. I am proud of the attitude of the players. My team is ambitious and with this attitude, I am very positive for the coming games.
Mumbai City star Hugo Boumous will miss the encounter due to suspension and his absence will be a blow for the side. The Frenchman has contributed nine goals and created 38 chances for his side.
For Bengaluru FC, it is a must-win situation if they are to keep their play-off hopes alive. However, their track record against Mumbai City isn't great. BFC have lost on four occasions and drawn one in five outings.
Of late, the top four teams have been dropping points, which has thrown open the race for the third and fourth play-offs spots.
However, Bengaluru interim coach Naushad Moosa believes that they have to take it one match at a time.
The results are going in everybody's favor not only ours. It's important we stay focused. Our defense been a concern but we are working on us, he said.
We have three games. We have to stay positive and play good football and try and get the three points, he added.
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