With the buzz of superstar Neymar playing a competitive game in India kicking up, Mumbai City FC have decided to change the venue for their AFC Champions League (ACL) match against the Brazilian talisman-led Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal on November 8. The much-anticipated match would now be held at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, instead of the Balewadi Stadium in Pune, the club announced on Tuesday.
While the official seating capacity of the stadium is 55,000, FIFA events held at the stadium have allowed 38,000 spectators and it’s likely to be the same when Mumbai take on Al Hilal. Pune, though. could accommodate 11,900.
The only fallout from the change in venue is that a Syed Mushtaq Ali cricket match, which was scheduled to be held on October 27 at the stadium, will now be held at the second ground of the complex.
With Mumbai City’s home ground, the Mumbai Football Arena, not meeting AFC standards, the City Football Group (CFG) owned club decided to play their home ACL matches at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune. So they played their opening tie — a 0-2 loss to Iranian club Nassaji Mazandaran—at Balewadi.
But as soon as the ACL draw was announced, fans pressed the club to announce when tickets would be released. Anticipating a frenzy and a huge possible black marketing of tickets for the 11,900-capacity stadium in Pune, the club wrote to AFC requesting permission to change the venue citing security measures and demand for tickets.
It’s not just Neymar. Al Hilal, the most successful club in ACL history, have an array of stars in their side including Aleksander Mitrovic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Ruben Neves.
The club further announced that pre-registration for tickets will begin on September 29. WhileRead on indianexpress.com