New Delhi: Pune's Shree Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports Complex is the venue for Matchday 3 of the Indian Super League (ISL), as the home side takes on Mumbai City FC in the Maharashtra derby.
Having endured a poor first season, both sides injected their squads with formidable talent during the ISL auction earlier in the year.
However, key players from both teams will not be part of the season opener for their respective sides.
Sunil Chhetri, Eugenson Lyngdoh, Jackichand Singh and four other national team players are off on international duty for the 2018 World Cup qualifying round game against Turkmenistan on October 8 at Ashgabat.
Despite the absence of these marquee players, Mumbai and Pune franchises have no shortage of match winners. Here are two such players who could turn this tie on its head with a stroke of genius.
Sony Norde was among the key architects of Mohun Bagan's I-League triumph in 2014. The Haitian's impressive show last season attracted interest from the Mumbai management. The 26-year-old's pace and trickery in the box will command close attention of Pune centre back Roger Johnson. Norde's 9 goals and 13 assists for Bagan last season is proof of his all-round attacking ability.
Adrian Mutu may have had a troubled career, but Pune skipper's ability on a football pitch has never been in question. Romania’s joint-record holder has scored plenty of goals across Europe against some of world's best defenders. The temperamental 36-year-old can play in any attacking position, which is why Mumbai centre back Pavel Cmovs will be tasked with the responsibility of dealing with his threat.