Mumbai City FC is set to face Al Hilal in their AFC Champions League clash on November 6, relocating to DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. They had to leave their regular venue, Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri, due to its inadequate facilities for hosting AFC Champions League matches. Initially, the club opted for the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune, citing the desire to keep high-level continental football within Maharashtra.
Navi Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium, a previous home for Mumbai City FC in domestic matches, was unavailable as it was booked by the Apex Cricket Council (ACC) and the Indian Cricket Board for practice sessions ahead of the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup.
“With a rich history of hosting elite football, the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex serves as the nearest football-specific stadium to Mumbai and allows Mumbai City FC to maintain close proximity for fans to travel from Mumbai,” MCFC had said in a release.
However, Pune's sports complex has a limited capacity of approximately 9,000 seats, which posed challenges for accommodating the expected high fan turnout for the match against Al Hilal, a team featuring prominent players like Neymar, Ruben Neves, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The DY Patil Stadium, with a capacity of around 55,000 and superior facilities, is a more suitable choice.
Neymar is reportedly discontented with his situation at Al-Hilal only a few months after joining the club
The former FC Barcelona star Neymar is reportedly facing issues at Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, just months after joining the club. According to Spanish newspaper El Nacional, Neymar has clashed with coach Jorge Jesus, and the club is dissatisfied with his performance. Neymar had expressed his desire to leave Paris Saint-Germain and return to Europe but was not part of the plans of newly appointed coach Luis Enrique and sports director Luis Campos. Financial constraints prevented Barcelona from reacquiring him.
Al-Hilal had signed Neymar for approximately €90 million and, despite his successful professional debut with two assists in a 6-1 win, the team's owners were disappointed with the overall performance of Neymar and his teammates. Neymar's slower and less predictable play, along with disagreements with Jorge Jesus regarding his international commitments while not fully fit, have added to the issues. These developments have raised concerns about Neymar's stint with Al-Hilal.