ISL: Chennaiyin FC vs Mumbai City FC – Preview
From among the four teams jostling for the lone available semi-final slot, Chennaiyin are better-placed on the league table.
Chennai: Needing to win their last two games to qualify for the play-offs, Chennaiyin FC will be seeking full points when they lock horns with Mumbai City FC in a crucial Indian Super League (ISL) football fixture here on Tuesday.
From among the four teams jostling for the lone available semi-final slot in second edition of Hero ISL, Chennaiyin FC are presently better-placed on the league table ahead of FC Pune City and NorthEast United FC - with a higher chance of making the knockout stage.
Chennaiyin FC will be guaranteed of a place in the semi-finals if they can put it across their next two opponents - Mumbai City and FC Pune City. They can also qualify with four points, if NorthEast United FC do not win by more than 13 goals in their concluding clash against FC Pune City in Guwahati on December 2.
It's quite something for a team that was placed at the bottom of the ISL table sometime ago, but coach Marco Materazzi knows his team still has plenty of work to do as they prepare to face Mumbai City FC in the all-important 13th round clash at home.
"We have not qualified as yet. Tomorrow will be the most important game," Materazzi said at the pre-match briefing.
"As I said after the ATK game, everything depends on us. Our guys have done well to create two victories and now we need to win another two games. It's the players who make the difference," said the Italian World Cup winner.
Chennaiyin's resurgence has been down to two big victories in a row against Kerala Blasters (4-1) and Delhi Dynamos (4-0) thanks to their goal-scoring Colombian striker Stiven Mendoza, who is leading the race for Golden Boots Award with 10 goals.
Mathematically there is still a possibility that Mumbai City FC can qualify for the play-offs but they will have to come up with a near impossible performance of not only winning their next two games but also pray for other games to go in their favour.
"We came here to play a good game. Mathematically it's still possible and we know we have to win this game. The players should believe in it since in football anything is possible. We have to do our best on the field," said Mumbai's marquee manager-player Nicolas Anelka.
Mumbai City are placed seventh on the table with 13 points from 12 matches.
"We know Chennai very well. We know they are strong and play good football. They have fast players like Mendoza upfront. We have to be careful. It's going to be hard," said Anelka.
Mumbai City FC lost their home game against Chennaiyin FC 0-2 in the first leg with Mendoza scoring both the goals.