Maharashtrian rivals Mumbai FC and DSK Shivajians (Pune based club) face each other in their opening game of the 2016-17 I League at the Cooperage Ground in Mumbai on 8th January.
Setting the scene:
The hosts come into this game on the back of a disappointing campaign in 2015 where they could only muster a fifth placed finish, winning just four out their 16 fixtures. The Mumbai side have appointed a new coach in Santosh Kashyap who takes over from Khaled Jamil and have a couple of new faces in the side with Victorino Fernandes and Laxmikant Kattimani joining the roster.
The team are without any foreign recruits so far, with that situation likely to change by next week. MFC as they are called will look for a winning start to the new season as they aim to finish in the top two this time around.
DSK Shivajians just like their opponents have a new manager at the helm, with Englishman Dave Rogers replacing Derrick Pereira, who oversaw the team struggle last season. The Pune outfit did not have the best of times in the I-League finishing as the wooden spoon holders, registering just three wins from 16 matches.
DSK though have strengthened their squad this time around, recruiting four foreign players- Juan Quero, North Korean international Kim Song Yong, Irish Midfielder Shane McFaul and Serbian centre back Sasha Kolunija while beefing up their team with various Indian domestic players.
Coach Rogers believes that his team have the right mix of youth and experience and will focus on playing attacking football.
Team news and Injury updates:
Mumbai FC: Indian midfielder Allan Dias is currently injured and will not take part in the game, other than that Santosh Kashyap has a full squad to choose from.
DSK Shivajians: Key goalkeeper Subrata Paul is doubtful for the clash .
Two teams with contrasting styles but will go with DSK who look like they have an exciting squad this season, at least on paper.