Mumbai, Pune eye maiden victory

In what could be termed as the Maharashtra Indian Super League derby, Mumbai City FC and FC Pune City will lock horns here on Saturday with both teams seeking a win after an unimpressive start in the franchise-based football tournament.

Both were winless in their openers played away from home even though Pune emerged with a single point after the goalless draw against Delhi Dynamos while Mumbai were thrashed 3-0 by Athletico de Kolkata in the inaugural match.

Both teams, thus, would be eager to get their campaigns back on track with a victory in front of a big crowd witnessing a top-level football competition. While MCFC did not get the desired result on the first day of the tournament, there were quite a few positives that the team could take from the encounter. Despite the absence of their marquee players Freddie Ljungberg  and Nicolas Anelka, the team had 57 percent possession in the game and had more shots on goal than their opponents.

The team management would be hoping to utilise the services of Ljungberg on their home turf — DY Patil Stadium — which could make a big difference. It would be interesting to see what strategy coach Peter Reid adopts against a team that has shown that they can defend deep in their goalless draw against Delhi Dynamos in the opening match, with goalkeeper Emanuele Belardi being the rock behind. Pune, on the other hand, would be looking up to their marquee player, David Trezeguet, up front to crack open the Mumbai defense.

The World Cup winning former French striker would in turn expect the Pune midfielders and wingers - Nigerian MacPherlin ‘Dudu’ Omagbeni and home grown Joaquim Abranches - to function well and lay passes for him to take advantage of.

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