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Match Day Preview: NorthEast United FC vs Mumbai City FC

North East United FC will make their season debut in the seventh edition of the Indian Super League against a strong opponent and will be looking for a massive opening win. Expectations will be high from the fans as the team has made some promising signings in the transfer window and is undefeated in the preseason. The match will be played in the Tilak Maidan and will kick-off at 1930 hours IST. The matches will be played behind the close doors and NEUFC will be without the drums and chants of the Highlander Brigade from the stands.

North East United FC

After a disappointing campaign in the last season, NEUFC has signed the young prodigal coach – Gerard Nus, who will be in charge to turn the fortunes for the Highlanders in this season. The revamped squad is almost a brand new team as there are 19 new signing in the transfer window. The team representing the hot bed of Indian football is looking for a fresh start in Goa.

Gerard Nus’s experience of working in clubs like Liverpool and with personalities like Avram Grant will be a key for the team. The team has retained only one foreign player - the star-man Federico Gallego. To alter NEUFC’s not so impressive scoring records will be the responsibility of Idrissa Sylla, Kwesi Appiah, Luis Machado, Britto PM, Ninthoinganba Meetei. Mid-field magic from Fedrico Gallego will be complemented by Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Lalremouia Fanai who will be dominating the middle of the park for the team. Highlanders will expect to see a breakthrough season for the prodigal Fanai, who has been personally advocated for success by Avram Grant. A strong solid defence is to be formed by the new centre-back partnering of Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox; while Ashutosh Mehta will add some fire in the attack as a wing-back.

The team will look forward to bolster their attacking side of the pitch and with the incoming of the new striking force, raining goals is forecasted in Goa this season. The experienced international and Indian signings will have to be assisted by the young ‘inexperienced’ squad to strike a winning combination on the field. The team will enter the tournament as the dark horses and has got everything that it takes to upset the ‘favorites’.

Mumbai City FC

While Mumbai City FC will be under their new Spanish Coach Sergio Lobera, who is well known in the league and has demonstrated his track record by patronizing an exciting and attractive attacking band of football while leading the FC Goa side to a Super Cup win in 2019. The team after their acquisition by the City football group has meant business as is clearly evident by their signing spree and has assembled a team that looks arguably the strongest on paper.

The Islanders has also upgraded the team with 19 new recruits and has enlisted the service of well established players from the league and also abroad. In attack, will be NEUFC’s all time highest goal scorer Bartholomew Ogbeche, partnering him will be Adam Le Fondre. The mid field is expected to be controlled by the likes of Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, Hernan Santana, and the very familiar figure of Rowlin Borges. The responsibility to prevent the Highlanders from scoring will be on the shoulder of Mourtada Fall, Mandar Rao Dessai, and others.

The squad that will be fielded by Sergio Lobera will have huge experience under their belt in the ISL’s atmosphere. The team however, will be lacking in options at the back. Over abundance of midfielders, although is a positive news for coaches, will certainly create a head-ache for Lobera while selecting his best 11 as he will try to – ‘’balance attack and defence.’’

Sergio Lobera’s journey will to continue with the Islanders as they will lock horns against the squad from the Highlands who will be in search of finding a winning combination to lift the trophy this season. Will the Highlanders start with a sweet victory or will the Islanders spoil the party? We predict a match result of two-all draw.

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