Oh, the final day drama!
With the top two spots confirmed, the race for the final two playoff spot in the Indian Super League has come down to the final league stage game; the matchday 18th.
FC Goa, after a stupendous 5-2 victory over Mumbai City FC sit at the top of the table and are closely followed a free-scoring ATK side. Sitting third are the defending champions, Bengaluru FC, who lost their fourth game of the season on Saturday after Bartholomew Ogbeche’s penalty in the 72nd minute proved out to be the decisive one against Kerala Blasters.
A 2-1 win for Odisha FC over NorthEast United has made the league all the more interesting, while Chennaiyin FC’s thumping win over ATK on Sunday has made up for an amazing final day spectacle.
Mumbai City FC vs Chennaiyin FC
There’s absolutely no margin for error for Jorge Costa’s Mumbai City FC from this point on. Sitting fourth with 26 points, the Islanders are closely monitored by Chennai with 25 points. Next in the list are Josep Gambou’s Odisha FC on fifth with 24 points. For Mumbai, their next games comes against a confident Chennaiyin FC unit, who still have two games in hand.
Mumbai, despite their inconsistent run in the league, have managed to score at least a goal in their last five appearances. At home, they remain unbeaten in their last three outings. Chennai, on the other hand, didn’t get the desired result against Bengaluru, but a 3-1 win over ATK away from home gave them the needed confidence. As far as their head to head count goes, Mumbai seem to have an advantage, having won four of their last six meetings.
Watch out for:
Nerijus Valskis: One of the many reasons behind Chennai’s recent success is Nerijus Valskis’ form. The 32-year-old Lithuanian has bagged 13 league goals and four assists in 16 outings, meaning that he averages 0.81 goals per game. He has, in fact, scored eight goals in his last six games, thus it is safe to say that he will be one man who Mumbai just cannot afford to allow roam free.
Can Atletico stop Liverpool?
The UEFA Champions League returns to the calendar and sees defending champions, Liverpool locking horns with Atletico Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Tuesday (Wednesday, 1:30 am IST).
The home team’s poor run of form in recent times do remain a worry though, as they only have a solitary victory in their last seven games in all competitions. As far as goals are concerned, they have managed to score more than once in only one occasion in these seven games. Liverpool, on the other hand, are on a beefy run, to say the least as they have dropped just two league points in the last 365 days in the Premier League.
They have, in fact, recorded as many as 10 clean sheets in their last 12 games in all competitions.
Watch out for:
Sadio Mane: Cometh the hour, cometh the man! Sadio Mane has been Liverpool’s go-to man in recent games. Overcoming the injury setback, the Senegalese came off the bench against Norwich in the Premier League, and it was his goal that stretched Liverpool’s lead to a whopping 25 points. Against a struggling Atletico defence, which only has kept two clean sheets in 10 games, Mane will be an influential figure, to say the least.
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