Humbled by a big margin in their previous outing, Chennaiyin FC have a chance to bounce back when they take on the star-studded but erratic Mumbai City FC in the 15th match of the Hero Indian Super League, here on Tuesday.
The Bojan Djordjic-led Chennaiyin were unbeaten in the competition before being hosted by Delhi Dynamos, who handed them a sound 4-1 thrashing.
Mumbai, on the other hand, are struggling to find their rhythm and are third from bottom in the points table with a win and two losses, the most recent being a 0-2 defeat against NorthEast United on home turf.
Plagued by injuries, Mumbai could be boosted by the return of star striker Nicolas Anelka and defender Syed Rahim Nabi. While Anelka missed the first three matches owing to a suspension, Nabi had been nursing an injury sustained in the tournament opener.
If French import Anelka plays tomorrow and manages to hit the stride, Chennai’s defence, which Delhi penetrated with ease in the previous match, would be in for another massive test and it would be interesting to see how the likes of Mikael Silvestre tie him down.
Chennai, managed by Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi, do not lack in attacking firepower either. Brazilian signing Elano Blumer, the youngest marquee player in the ISL who has played for Manchester City, has been a prolific contributer to the team’s cause, scoring in every match so far.
But Mumbai have their own man in form in midfielder Andre Moritz, the joint leading scorer of the tournament along with Elano. However, unlike Elano, all his three goals have come in one match — against Pune City FC.
He did not play the full 90 minutes against NorthEast United owing to a niggle but is expected to be back to full fitness.
Adding to Mumbai’s strike force is diminutive Indian Subhash Singh, who has one goal to his credit so far in the tournament.
Manuel Fredrich would form the core of Mumbai’s defence and the German’s task would be made easier if Nabi reports fit for the match. Mumbai’s marquee player Fredrik Ljunberg finally made an appearance in their previous match, coming out in the second half, but it turned out to be quite a disaster as he had to leave the field within minutes due to a thigh injury.
It remains to be seen whether the Swedish midfielder would be risked tomorrow.
Given that the two sides match up quite evenly on paper, an interesting contest is on the cards.