I-League: Mumbai FC take on four-time winners Dempo
Pune: Mumbai FC would be looking for their first win of their I-League campaign when they host four-time champions Dempo SC in a round-two encounter at the Balewadi Sports Complex here on Sunday.
The hosts go into the game after a 1-1 draw against another Goan side, Sporting Clube de Goa.
Arthur Papas-guided Dempo, striving to retain the crown they last won three seasons ago, are going into the game after a 0-3 home loss against Shillong Lajong.
For Mumbai FC, medio Climax Lawrence and defender Valeriano Rebello will be up against their former team for the first time since joining the club.
Climax, along with fellow-midfielders Nicholas Rodrigues and Ashutosh Mehta, would be pulling strings from the midfield for the hosts for frontliners Jayesh Rane and Orok Essien.
The backline will be led by the central defencive duo of Haroon Amiri and Anwar Ali. Both of them have now started to gel and coach Khalid Jamil expects them to forge a strong partnership.
"My attack wasn`t up to the mark in the previous game, but the defence under the leadership of Amiri and Anwar was excellent. Tomorrow is a big match and we can only get better and improve from here," said Jamil ahead of the game.
Dempo have made numerous changes to their squad over the summer. The foreign quartet of defenders Simon Colosimo and Shinnosuke Honda, striker Billy Mehmet - who are new arrivals - and playmaker Roberto Mendes da Silva "Beto", who has re-joined the club, form the nucleus of the team.
Dempo have also added India internationals, striker Jeje Lalpekhlua and medio Jewel Raja Shaikh to their squad while former Mumbai FC forward Gabriel Fernandes will be up against his old team for the first time.
Mumbai FC have never won a game against Dempo in twelve encounters so far in all the competitions and coach Jamil is hopeful things will change on Sunday.
The two teams drew both their head-to-head I-League games last season.