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Mumbai, Pune start their ISL campaign sans India players

After finishing the first season in the bottom half of the eight-team points table, both Mumbai and Pune have used the transfer window ahead of the second season to good effect and have rejigged their sides.

Despite the signing of top international players like David Trezeguet and Jermaine Pennant, the Pune team finished sixth in the league of eight last time. This time, they have a comparatively stronger team with the likes of Romanian striker Adrian Mutu and veteran Ivory Coast international Didier Zokora in their ranks <g data-gr-id="28">besides</g> also signing promising Indian players like Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Jackichand Singh.

Surprisingly, FC Pune City have appointed Zokora as captain at the expense of marquee player Mutu who can now <g data-gr-id="29">focussed</g> on scoring goals. It will, however, be interesting to see if the strategy works out first up at the Balewadi Sports Complex tomorrow.

Being led and coached by French football great Nicolas Anelka, Mumbai received extra momentum when they bagged India captain Sunil Chhetri in the Indian players auction earlier this year.

With 50 goals to his credit at the international level, the 31-year-old Chhetri’s zeal and enthusiasm for the game is expected to make the side strong up-front and his experience in this part of the country will come to help immensely.

However, Chhetri and six other national team players in both the teams will not be around tomorrow as they are leaving the country for India’s 2018 World Cup qualifying round game against Turkmenistan on October 8 at Ashgabat.

Pune, Oct 4 (PTI) Laggards of the inaugural edition, Mumbai City FC and FC Pune City would hope for a better outing this time around as they start their campaign in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2 in <g data-gr-id="27"><g data-gr-id="32">the the</g></g> absence of key domestic players here tomorrow. After finishing the first season in the bottom half of the eight-team points table, both Mumbai and Pune have used the transfer window ahead of the second season to good effect and have rejigged their sides. 

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