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All eyes on Mumbai as they face Odisha in title decider (Match Preview 105)

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Bambolim (Goa), Feb 23 (IANS) Mumbai City face Odisha FC in a crucial fixture in the race for the Indian Super League (ISL) league stage title race on Wednesday at the GMC Stadium. With two matches left to play, Mumbai trail top-placed ATK Mohun Bagan by six points which means anything less than a win in their next match would be the end of their ambitions to qualify for the 2022 AFC Champions League.

Bagan dropped points against Hyderabad, handing Sergio Lobera’s men a chance to keep pressure on the top spot. Odisha, meanwhile, are at the other end of the spectrum, having been the first team to be knocked out of the race for a top-four spot. With just one win in 18 matches, it is now mathematically impossible for them to rise up from the bottom of the league standings.

Mumbai need to get out of the rut they find themselves in. After being the best team for most of the league, the wheels have come off right at the end and Mumbai have won just one of their last six games.

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Their previous game saw them crash to a defeat to Jamshedpur FC. “If we play like we did in the last game, it is impossible to win the game. The focus is on ourselves and we need to improve at both ends,” said Lobera.

“We conceded a lot of chances and also goals. We did not have chances to score and we need to improve there. We played the worst game of our season and hopefully this is in the past now. The most important thing is our present and our future. It was a bad day in the office and sometimes this happens. The important thing is to not repeat this,” Lobera added.

Meanwhile, Steven Dias takes charge of Odisha FC after interim manager Gerald Peyton left the club for personal reasons. The former India international said that he plans to give chances to the younger players in the squad.

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“We have really good young players,” he said. “I still think that we have a very balanced team. But, we have been so unfortunate. Starting off the season, Thoiba (Singh) and Saurabh (Meher) played in the central midfield but after one or two games even coach Stuart (Baxter) didn’t get much chance to put Indian players.”

–IANS

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