Mumbai FC face Bharat FC in last round of I-League

Mumbai FC will be aiming to end their season on a high with a win over Kalyani Bharat FC to ensure safety and secure their best-ever finish in the I-League. The two sides will lock horns under lights at the Cooperage Stadium here on Saturday in the final round of matches this season.

Khalid Jamil’s side has endured a topsy-turvy season. They were slow off the blocks but embarked on an upward surge after they returned to their home ground here. After a decent mid-phase, they stagnated towards the business end, not losing matches but drawing five in a row that put them in relegation battle with Goan clubs. Victory in their previous match over East Bengal boosted their chances of survival.

With four wins, nine draws and six defeats, Mumbai have accumulated 21 points, same as Salgaocar. They are placed sixth on the basis of a better goal difference.

“It’s been a great season so far. There have been ups and downs but we are still in a very good position to clinch our best-ever finish. A sixth-place finish would be the best in the history of the club,“ Jamil said.

“We are out of danger, but not entirely. That victory over East Bengal went a long way in taking us back up the table. It’s a tightly-contested league and everything is so close between teams. Dempo are in the greatest danger so far, but we should be confirmed as safe."

Mumbai had beaten Bharat 2-0 when the two sides met earlier this season with Josimar da Silva and Sampath Kuttymani scoring for Mumbai. Bharat FC coach Stuart Watkiss will be banking on the veteran players to deliver and help them end their season on a positive note.

The newbies are at the bottom of the 11-team table with 18 points. However, they cannot be relegated as per the rules which give the new franchise teams a cushion not getting relegated for the first three seasons.

The I-League debutants have blown hot and cold this season. While they have stunned title contenders like Mohun Bagan, they surrendered cheaply to relegation-threatened sides like Salgaocar and Shillong Lajong.

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