Chennaiyin FC coach Marco Materazzi is ‘scared’ about his team’s excellent record against Mumbai City FC as they square up in an exciting Hero Indian Super League clash at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.
Chennaiyin FC have won all four clashes against Mumbai City FC since the inception of the league in 2014. But this season, Materazzi has seen history being rewritten.
For example, Chennaiyin’s battles against FC Goa were always won by the visiting teams — including last season’s final — yet Chennaiyin FC broke the trend by winning at home this season.
Delhi Dynamos had lost all four league clashes against FC Goa but they secured a comfortable 2-0 victory against last year’s finalists in their last game.
“Every year, everything changes, and every ISL is different from the previous year. What scares me actually is that this season, everything is opposite. We won at home against Goa for the first time and that scares me against Mumbai because we have usually won against them,” said the Italian World Cup winner.
Chennaiyin FC are placed fifth on the table with nine points from six matches but Materazzi’s defending champions can jump to the top of the table with a two-goal victory. Materazzi, however, was not too concerned with either a victory or draw since the goal remains to qualify for the semi-finals and not finish on top at the end of the first phase.
“I don’t care about a two-goal victory. What matters is to get to the play-offs and that is the target for us,” said Materazzi, who will have to do without the injured John Arne Riise and Hans Mulder.
Mumbai City FC have put their previous ISL woes behind them and are slowly but surely working their way towards the play-offs. Costa Rican coach Alexandre Guimaraes is unperturbed with their poor record against Chennaiyin FC.
“First of all, our squad is totally different from last two seasons. I don’t have any player who has this memory (of losses). This is a totally different situation. We know that we are playing the champions, against a team who has more continuity of working with the team more than us,” said the Mumbai City coach.
Guimaraes confirmed that marquee player Diego Forlan was available for Wednesday’s clash and it usually means greater excitement on the field.
“When he plays, we usually win. He usually scores or assists. When he plays, our opponents are more aware of him. That’s good for us,” said Guimaraes.
Mumbai City FC are second on the table with 11 points from 7 matches and will need a win to move to the top.