With form deserting it after a bright start, host NorthEast United FC is looking for desperate measures ahead of its eighth outing of the Indian Super League which will be against an in-from Mumbai City FC.
Two successive losses at home, against Chennaiyin FC and Atletico de Kolkata here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, have seen the host slump to the fifth position after ruling the top for a record 25 days.
Team coach Nelo Vingada lamented on the luck factor and the need for a greater effort from his players to wrest ascendence, which would be possible only if the team wins in its fifth outing on the home turf. Injury problems and a misfiring attack-line have been the major reasons bothering the hosts, while the visitors are looking to scale the rungs with a new-found enthusiasm generated around their marquee player Diego Forlan.
Mumbai City’s fortunes soared owing to its performance in the last two ‘away’ matches where it picked up four points from a win (against Atletico de Kolkata) and a draw (with Chennaiyin FC). Even after crossing the half-way stage, the league is still evenly balance, with only six points separating the top and bottom-placed teams.
Mumbai may have the advantage here with an international star striker like Forlan urging the team to play more offensive. The Uruguayan World Cupper, though slowed down a lot compared to his prime playing days, inspires the creative aspect of Mumbai’s game which is further augmented by the presence of the Haitian Sony Norde, Brazilian Leo Costa, Hungarian Krisztian Vadocz and Argentine Matias Defederico, the last-named uncertain owing to an injury.
Mumbai’s Costa Rican coach Alexandre Guimaraes drew strength from the consistency his side has shown since the start. The team, which is currently tied with Atletico de Kolkata on 12 points on top of the charts, has never dropped out of the top-half.