Mumbai: Having not lost in five previous I-League football games to East Bengal, hosts Mumbai FC will be keen to maintain the record when the two teams clash at the Cooperage ground on Sunday.
While Mumbai drew goalless in their away league opener against Shillong Lajong, East Bengal fought back from 0-1 down to get the better of Sporting de Goa 3-1 in their first game, thanks to a double strike from seasoned Nigerian forward Ranti Martins.
The match will be the first of three back-to-back home games for Mumbai FC and coach Khalid Jamil wanted the side to come off with three full points, though he expected the game to be a very tough one.
"It's a very important game for us. We are aiming for three points," said Jamil today while agreeing that for it to happen his side will have to stop the 29-year-old Martins from exhibiting his goal-poaching skills.
"It's not going to be an easy match. East Bengal is a very good side. They are playing very good football. Ranti Martins is a good player and we must stop him tomorrow," said Jamil ahead of the tie.
Korean defender Min-Chol Son has to lead the way for this tough task to succeed.
"We have to be more attacking," said Jamil and to accomplish this the team will depend a lot on their good midfield which includes the likes of Arata Izumi, Taisuge Matsugane and Liberian Eric Brown.
East Bengal coach Biswajit Bhattacharya also described the game as "a very tough challenge".
"Mumbai FC is a very good team. They have good players and are very serious."
"We have a lot of injuries. Calvin Lobo is injured and (medio) Sehnaj Singh is also injured. But we have a lot of good players," said the East Bengal coach in his pre-game media conference.
Asked when French wing back Bernard Mendy, who played for Chennayin FC in the ISL, will join the team as the fourth foreign recruit, Bhattacharya said, "We don't know."