Match Preview – Mumbai City face FC Nassaji in the AFC Champions League

After failing to win the Durand Cup, Mumbai City FC will look for a brilliant start against FC Nassaji in the opening game of AFC Champions League.


On September 18th, 2023, Mumbai City FC will kick off their AFC Champions League campaign against Iranian club FC Nassaji Mazandaran. The Mumbai-based team is the only side from India that will be competing in Asia’s premier club competition. Last season as well, The Islanders were a part of the competition. But, their run ended in disappointment as they failed to advance beyond the group stage. This time though, Mumbai City will look to perform well. 

However, the task won’t be easy for last season’s ISL League Shield winners. Along with FC Nassaji in their group, Des Buckingham’s side will also face the likes of Al-Hilal and PFC Navbahor. While both games will be crucial, Indian football fans will be looking forward to Mumbai’s game against Al-Hilal the most, since the team from Saudi features top players like Neymar Jr., and Kalidou Koulibaly. However, before turning their focus to the Saudi side, Mumbai City must first tackle the FC Nassaji challenge. 

Mumbai City

Recent form of Mumbai City FC and Nassaji

Ahead of this important AFC Champions League game, Mumbai City are coming off an impressive campaign in the Durand Cup. Despite their inability to win the tournament, The Islanders did well over all. After being undefeated in the group stages, Mumbai eventually lost to Durand Cup 2023 Champions Mohun Bagan in the quarter finals. The exposure of playing in a tournament like Durand Cup will help Mumbai City when they play in the AFC Champions League.

FC Nassaji on the other hand have experienced mixed form in recent times. While they had a great 3-1 win in their last Iran Pro League outing against Sanat Naft, in the four games before that Nassaji have been unable to convert chances into victories. Even though they have lost only one in their last five, Nassaji have had quite a few draws. Their inability to win matches in recent times will be worrisome for the club when they face Mumbai City.

Team news

Match Preview - Mumbai City face FC Nassaji in the AFC Champions League Untitled design 529

Mumbai City FC – Ahead of this important game, manager Des Buckingham will be a happy man considering he will have most of his players available for selection. The likes of Greg Stewart, Lallianzuala Chhangte, and Jorge Diaz will all be available to bolster Mumbai City’s attack. However, the only notable absence from the club will be Spanish midfielder Alberto Noguera. The Spanish player flew back to Spain after suffering an undisclosed injury. 

FC Nassaji – FC Nassaji on the other hand will travel with a fully fit squad when they arrive to play Mumbai City FC. The Iranian club has no notable injuries or suspensions yet. This means some of the club’s star players like Saber Hardani, Saeid Gholamalibeigi, and Amir Mehdi Janmaleki will all be available for selection. The lack of injuries in the FC Nassaji squad will give them a huge boost ahead of the AFC Champions League opening game. 

Predicted Lineup

Mumbai City FC – Phurba Lachenpa (GK), Akash Mishra, Rahul Bheke, Mehtab Singh, Rostyn Griffiths, Apuia, Abdenasser El Khayati, Bipin Singh, Greg Stewart, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Jorge Pereyra Diaz

FC Nassaji: Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri (GK), Amir Janmaleki, Mohammadreza Kasani, Farshid Esmaeili, Alaa Abbas, Ehsan Hosseini, Hossein Zamehran, Mohammad Azadi, Mahmoud Rahmati, Saber Hardani, Mohammadreza Abbasi

Match Prediction

Mumbai City FC squad

Given this is the first time both teams will be meeting, it is difficult to predict a winner. Considering their recent form, Mumbai City should be able to snatch three points from FC Nassaji. Another added advantage Mumbai will have going into the game is that it will be played in Pune, India.

However, FC Nassaji must not be taken lightly, as the team has proved its capability of winning in difficult situations in the past. On a few occasions in prior games, Nassaji have shown caliber to bounce back from difficult position and register victories. But, in recent games, the team has struggled to score a lot. Hence, Mumbai City FC will be slight favorites to win the opening game.

How and where to watch the game?

The game between Mumbai City FC and FC Nassaji will be telecasted on the Sports18 on September 18th, 7:30 PM. A live stream of the match will also be available on Fancode and JioTV in India. 

Follow IFTWC for the latest updates on Indian Football.

Varun Anand Bhat
Varun Anand Bhat
Varun Anand Bhat is a Sports Journalist with three years of experience under his belt. Throughout his career, Varun has covered several sports, but football remains his specialty. Having played the sport, Varun has the ability to analyze and write about games. He also has immense love and passion for Indian Football.

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