Defending champions Mumbai City FC kicked off their campaign in style as they registered a comfortable 3-0 win against arch-rivals FC Goa. Coach Des Buckingham would be pleased with the result and the way his team played. MCFC next face Hyderabad FC who suffered a 1-0 loss to Chennaiyin FC.
Coach Des Buckingham and defender Rahul Bheke addressed the media ahead of their key clash against Manuel Marquez’s men.
On team news and injuries, Des Buckingham said, “Raynier has recovered and is fine. However, Vignesh is out and will be unavailable for 4-5 weeks due to an ankle issue that he sustained in the previous game. Everyone else is fine and available for selection”.
Rahul Bheke was signed from Bengaluru FC in the summer. A former ISL champion himself, Rahul played at center-back alongside captain Mourtada Fall against FC Goa and looked at home. On the partnership with Fall and experience playing with him, Rahul said, “It was a good experience. He is always there to help me on and off the pitch. Throughout pre-season, he has helped me as a fellow defender and shared his experiences. He is one of the leaders of the team and is always there to help each one of us”.
Defeating one of the pre-tournament favorites comfortably would be a confidence booster for any team and Mumbai City FC is no different. “The feeling after the win is that of happiness and excitement. Players, however, need to recover and freshen up themselves. The mood in the camp and dressing room is positive”.
Hyderabad FC suffered a defeat at the hands of Chennaiyin FC in their first game of the campaign. Des Buckingham was asked if he watched the game and what he made of Hyderabad FC. “We watched the game. I was surprised about the score at halftime. HFC played very well, was quick, and created a lot of chances. We are aware of their strengths. Marquez has got them organized and playing a very good standard of football. But the focus is on us. We will prepare the players for what’s to come but we will focus on what we are going to do and how we are going to do”.
Rahul Bheke is a stalwart of ISL having played for the last 7 years. The 30-year-old is also a seasoned Indian international having earned 18 caps for India. “Having played ISL for the last 7 years, I always try to share my experiences with the younger players of the squad. That way, they always improve and play well and help the team”.
Igor Angulo was signed from FC Goa in the summer and the Spaniard paid rich dividends, scoring two goals against his former side. The coach said, “The 2nd goal especially was fantastic. It’s a proper striker’s finish. He doesn’t need much to find a shot or the back of the net. As a coach, you look out for such players, and to have Igor here with his finishing ability is great. One other thing I want to stress is the work we do off the ball is key to getting the likes of Igor and other players to get into good positions. The work rate of every player was fantastic and that is what we need to do tomorrow as well”.
Igor‘s striking partner Ygor Catatau came from the bench and got onto the scoresheet. On a possible selection headache, Des replied, “Not really, at the moment. Catatau and Casseo arrived late and had to quarantine a bit, so it’s all about getting some minutes into them and getting them up to speed. But when everyone is fit and available, it’s a fantastic problem to have for every coach”.
Des Buckingham and all fans of Mumbai City FC will be hoping to keep the momentum going against HFC. However, MCFC will not find it easy against Hyderabad FC who will be desperate for a win after their loss against Chennaiyin FC. Fans can expect a tight contest between two very good teams.
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