Former champions Atletico de Kolkata, the only unbeaten team in the ISL, will look to climb to the pole position against a struggling Mumbai City FC in when the two sides clash.
The inaugural champions have scored in all their matches so far including five in the second half, the most by any team, and a win will take them two points clear of NorthEast United FC.
Winless from four matches Mumbai City FC, who have conceded five of their six goals in the second half, are coming off a second loss from six matches, when they handed bottom-placed FC Goa their first win after five games.
This will also be a grudge match for ATK, who reportedly failed to ink a deal with Uruguayan marquee player Diego Forlan, who was eventually snapped up by Mumbai for a record sum.
“Forlan is dangerous. Maybe he had better times before. If Mumbai are paying a lot of money for him maybe he is dangerous,” ATK head coach Jose Molina quipped on the eve of the match, seemingly aware of ATK’s ‘failed’ deal.
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The 2010 World Cup Golden Ball winner, who made a comeback after injury against Goa, has been a shadow of his past, with one goal from three matches.
Molina will know the importance of securing full points from this home fixture as he takes his team away for three consecutive matches against NorthEast United FC, FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos.
Having secured their first home win in the last match, a 1-0 result against Delhi Dynamos, they have slowly been getting back into the groove.
“I hope when we play against Mumbai City FC at home all the players will be ready. We will give our best, try to win and take all three points. If we go top of the table that is good but that is not the most important thing now. We want to win the three points,” Molina said.
There’s also good news for ATK as their star Portuguese forward Helder Postiga, who’s nursing a rib injury, may start on the bench.
“I don’t know whether he will play or not. He could be on the bench. He went 15 days without training and is still not at his best.”
As for Mumbai, they started off with two consecutive victories but have not tasted a win in the last four matches.
Since those two wins at the start against FC Pune City and NorthEast United FC, Mumbai have only managed two points in their next four matches, including a loss in the last game against FC Goa.
“We go to play against Atletico de Kolkata to get the points that we didn’t get against FC Goa,” Mumbai City coach Alexandre Guimaraes said.
The Costa Rican coach will have to juggle with his squad after several of his players picked up injuries.
Leo Costa and Anwar Ali could only make it to the bench in the previous match because of injuries, while Pronay Halder and Defederico had to be substituted.
Boithang Haokip is still recovering from the knock against Kerala Blasters, leaving Guimaraes very little to pick from, especially since four of his players are still on duty with Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup.