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ISL: Mumbai take on Chennaiyin in race for play-offs spot

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MUMBAI: On the cusp of their first-ever entry into the Indian Super League play-offs, Mumbai City FC would be keen to put it across defending champions Chennaiyin FC in their second leg clash at the Mumbai Football Arena on Wednesday.

Mumbai City can make the semi-finals if they beat Chennaiyin, with whom they played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

The hosts would be going into the clash with their confidence boosted significantly after the 5-0 demolition of Kerala Blasters in their previous game, riding on marquee player Diego Forlan’s magnificent hat-trick of goals.

Mumbai are sitting pretty at the top of the table with 19 points from 12 matches and three points should be good enough for them for a top-four finish.

“We are on the way. We know that to achieve the first goal is to get to the play-offs. It’s good to have these points with two games to be played but we have to get more. 19 points are not enough. We must have (more) good performances,” said Mumbai City coach Alexandre Guimaraes today.

Mumbai would conclude the league phase with their final game at home against Delhi Dynamos on December 3, but would be eager to seal their semifinal spot before that.

The home team would expect another sizzler from their star striker and skipper Forlan who became the first marquee player to score a hat-trick in ISL and also continued with Mumbai’s record of having a hat-trick scorer in each of the edition.

But Guimaraes is aware about the battle ahead.

“We will have to play better than the last game to try and win to be in a very good position. We saw the game Chennaiyin played against ATK and they are still on course. They are very tough. They are champions and champions always like to fight till the end,” said the Costa Rican.

Chennaiyin, looking far from champion material this season, are placed sixth with 14 points from 11 matches.

They have shown only glimpses of the form that gave them the crown last season but head coach Marco Materazzi is confident that his team finds the magic touch to book a semifinal spot.
“May be we need a little bit of luck. We are still

confident of making the play-offs. Except against Delhi (Dynamos), in every other game we have shown good attitude and spirit,” said Materazzi.

Chennaiyin have won just a match away from home this season. Much will depend on the goal-scoring prowess of Italian striker Davide Succi, especially with Dudu Omagbemi out of form and Jeje Lalpekhlua injured.

“Football is not science or mathematics. All we can do is collect as many points as possible. What matters is getting to the play-offs and once you are there, the whole thing starts all over again,” said Materazzi.

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