Pune, Sep 20 (IANS) Mumbai FC kick off their I-League 2013-14 campaign when they host Sporting Clube de Goa at the Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex, Mhalunge-Balewadi in Pune Saturday.
The game will be important as both sides look to start their campaign on a positive note after mid-table finishes last season. Mumbai FC finished eighth with 32 points while Sporting finished sixth with 35 points.
A win for Mumbai FC will give them a perfect start to the season after their forgettable start to the 2012-13 season. It was only against Sporting that the Mumbai FC's winless streak ended and coach Khalid Jamil will be hoping for similar fortunes.
The hosts will be cautious when they take on Sporting, who have already begun their season, and have been unrelenting in the Goa Pro League pumping in goals aplenty.
Striker Boima Karpeh will be the man to mark having been prolific in the Goa Pro League.
This will be one of the key areas where the Mumbai FC defence led by skipper Haroon Amiri will need maximum focus.
On the other hand, Mumbai FC go into the game on the back of a good pre-season and will be boosted by the return of key players from international duty.
The signing of Nigerian striker Orok Essien has boosted the team's confidence, and he too will be looking to hit the ground running.
Coach Jamil will be hoping for new signings Climax Lawrence, Anwar Ali and Essien along with Amiri to lead the young side on the pitch.
A cautious Jamil explained, "Sporting finished the last season well under coach Oscar Bruzon and their form in the Goa Pro League this season has also been good."
However, Jamil feels the hosts will also be a stronger unit.
"We have been training for a few weeks now and the team has started to gel. We hope to give our best performance Saturday."
This will be the tenth time both teams face off against each other. Earlier, they have met eight times in the I-League and once in the Federation Cup.
The overall head-to-head between Mumbai FC and Sporting is balanced at three wins each and three draws from nine games.
However, Sporting have scored three wins in the I-League compared to two wins for Mumbai FC - a record the hosts will be eager to set straight.