AS THE LAST ROUND OF I-LEAGUE fixtures draws closers, for most teams it is about playing for pride.
One of the fixtures is Mumbai FC playing hosts to East Bengal. Now Mumbai FC are fixated at bottom place and are already relegated and East Bengal are on third place. Both teams have had newly appointed coaches namely Oscar Bruzon for Mumbai FC and Ranjan Chaudhary for East Bengal.
Mumbai FC play their home games at the Cooperage ground and traditionally being known to be a ground to be difficult to score and get points on. It has been the home ground of the current Aizawl FC coach Khalid Jamil who, in his tenure at the Cooperage made it tough for opponents to win points here.
Part of the reason was Mumbai FC played compact and therefore opponents found it tough to break that smaller gaps in the formation. Secondly, Cooperage is a smaller width turf. Here are the dimensions comparison of both team’s home grounds.
Barasat Stadium: 110 x 70 meters
The Cooperage: 100 x 68 meters
Clearly, the Mumbai FC home turf is a shorter and narrower field than the East Bengal ground. Ranjan Chaudhury earlier made a statement that he intends to boost his team’s wing play in the last game of the season. He is either is not aware of the field being smaller or he is simply a genius. Because even teams like Mohun Bagan were held to a goalless draw owing to their flanks being unable to be used as freely as other grounds.
What can work against Mumbai FC is short and quick passing game trying to use the central midfielders playing in tandem just as Shillong Lajong were able to do in their last game at the Cooperage. There could be possibility that Ranjan might be playing mind games by saying he intends to use the wings as decoy and surprise all by actually not so.
East Bengal left for Mumbai today and news is that Australian striker Christopher Payne has not made the travel with the team.
Mumbai FC play East Bengal on Saturday, April 29 at 7 pm. The match will be live streamed on www.i-league.org
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