Hero Indian Super League table toppers Mumbai City FC visit the Furnace next to take on a Jamshedpur FC side keen to get back to winning ways and end the season strongly.
This will be the second last game to be played at home for the Men of Steel, and after a below-par campaign, this is one of the final opportunities the club has to inject a bit of pride in front of the Jamshedpur faithful.
But playing against Mumbai will be a tall task. The Islanders are the only unbeaten side left in the tournament this season, and will not relent despite their guaranteed qualification for the playoff spots.
That being said, JFC were among the few clubs to take points off the league leaders this season, drawing 1-1 at the Mumbai Football Arena back in October 2022.
A few battles could be key on the pitch to decide the outcome, and here are some of them:
Daniel Chima Chukwu vs Mourtada Fall
The tall and imposing figure of Mourtada Fall will likely come up against the equally physical Daniel Chima Chukwu on Friday in a contest worth keeping an eye on.
Fall has been consistent since joining FC Goa a few years ago, winning the league shield with the Gaurs before moving to Mumbai City FC and showing a similar level of class there.
On the other hand, Chima is the club’s joint-highest scorer, and his wonderful hold up play and ability to make chances out of nothing will make him a handful for any defender in the league.
Rafael Crivellaro vs Ahmed Jahouh
Since joining Jamshedpur around a month ago, Rafael Crivellaro has led a mini transformation around the club. His creativity and leadership has undoubtedly added a layer of calm around the place, and with more game time, he appears to be getting even better.
However, standing in front of him will be the giant figure of Ahmed Jahouh. Like Fall, Jahouh made his mark at FC Goa and has been instrumental in leading Mumbai to glory in the last few years too.
This season, the Moroccon has passed his way through most teams pretty easily, but will have his defensive duties to follow as Crivellaro aims to pass his own way through the Mumbai midfield come Friday.
Eli Sabia vs Greg Stewart
Greg Stewart once encompassed everything Jamshedpur FC was about, leading from the front with goals and assists, and taking the team to the league shield last season.
But he now finds himself at rivals Mumbai City, where his quality is once again coming through, leading the Islanders to victory after victory.
That being said, Eli Sabia knows a thing or two about the talented forward from playing alongside him, and the Brazilian’s own aerial ability and reading of the game could prove telling in this very intriguing battle between attack and defence.
Stewart and Jorge Diaz have terrorised defences throughout the league this season, but Jamshedpur will be determined to ensure they don’t suffer the same fate in front of their own fans.