Mumbai FC eye first win

Mumbai FC, the city’s lone club in the I League, who earned a point in their last outing at home against Sporting de Clube, will be looking to carry forward that momentum and score their first victory when they clash with Goa’s Salgaocar Football Club at the Cooperage Football Stadium on Friday under lights.

Speaking to the media at the pre-match conference coach Khalid Jamil said his team played positive, attacking soccer in their last match and were buoyed by the tremendous home support they received.

“All players would need to be alert and give more than 100 per cent against Salgaocar. They are one of the top teams in the league and can’t be taken lightly. My boys are enjoying their football at Cooperage and we will try not to disappoint our fans,” added Jamil.

Not dwelling on the past, Jamil said his players need to make a fresh start. Star midfielder Climax Lawrence though not fully recovered from injury, seems hopeful of starting on Friday and so will midfielder Paresh Shivalkar and striker Abhishek Yadav.

Though his side missed the services of Lawrence in the midfield, coach Jamil said that his team had ironed out their midfield shortcomings in practice and he expected that crucial sector to function well, even in the absence of Lawrence.

Referring to his forward line, which is yet to find their famed shooting skills, Jamil said his team needed to try and score early against Salgaoncar, converting even the half chances that came their way if they hoped to exert pressure on the rival defence. Though not willing to make a prediction on the outcome, Jamil said he was hoping for a positive result, which, when probed further, he added, “was outright victory.”

Salgaocar coach Derrick Pereira, whose team is high on morale after a win over East Bengal in their last outing, sounded a cautious note when speaking about his team’s prospects against Mumbai FC. “Khalid’s side has always played strong attacking football. They are a good team and also have the advantage of playing in front of their home crowd. We have come here to play positive, attacking football,” said Pereira.

Coach Pereira also has injury worries, with Charan Singh, Umesh Harijan and Karanjit Singh not featuring in his plans for tomorrow in and his star players D Duffy and Francis Kasonde also not 100 per cent fit. He was also wary about playing on the artificial turn at Cooperage and said that though his team played on such a surface in the Goa League and also had some practice sessions, his players were finding it difficult to adjust to the conditions.

For Today’s Sport: I League; 7.00 p.m. Mumbai FC vs Salganoncar FC; Cooperage Football Stadium