A place in the Hero Indian Super League playoffs is on the line as Mumbai City FC lock horns against Chennaiyin FC at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Friday.
A win will ensure qualification for either side, making it a virtual do-or-die clash. Mumbai City are fourth right now with 26 points from 17 matches and cannot afford any result other than a win against Owen Coyle’s side who are fifth with 25 points.
However, even a draw will do for Chennaiyin FC who have played a game less than Mumbai. A win will definitely take Chennaiyin through, but a draw also keeps their fate in their own hands, with an away game against NorthEast United FC coming up next week. A loss will put Chennaiyin out of contention which raises the stakes further.
Odisha, placed sixth, will also be keen on the outcome on Friday with anything other than a draw set to knock them out. The advantage for Mumbai is the fact that they are playing at home. They have won their last three home matches and Jorge Costa will hope to make it four in a row on Friday.
In what is a huge boost to their chances, centre-forward Amine Chermiti is back from suspension and will team up with Diego Carlos and Modou Sougou up front. The pace of the front three will be crucial to Mumbai’s gameplan as Costa relies on counter-attacks to hurt opposition.
“The good thing is that Friday's game depends on us. If we win it, we will be inside the top four for sure. I have 90-95 minutes to win one game and I'm sure that we will do it. We are doing our best everyday hoping that tomorrow finally we can say that we are in the top four,” said Costa.
However, he will need his defence and midfield to be organised against a Chennaiyin side who have been in prolific form upfront.