Mumbai, ATK clash swords with crucial play-off spot up for grabs

Mumbai City FC will be hoping to seal the play-offs berth when they take on ATK at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharathi Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday. A win for Mumbai will take them above NorthEast United FC in third place, while ATK’s slim chances of making it to the next round will be extinguished if they fail to pick up all three points. Given the fine margins at hand, Friday’s contest promises to be a nail-biter.

ATK

For a brief period, after the season resumed in January, it looked as if ATK had completely turned things around. With the signing of Edu Garcia, the two-time Hero ISL champions looked a potent threat, picking up an impressive result against Jamshedpur FC. However, after dropping points against FC Pune City and FC Goa, the likelihood that they will qualify for the play-offs looks incredibly bleak.

With two matches to go, ATK need to win both and hope that their rivals slip up to finish inside the top four. A victory against the Islanders will be no easy task, but Steve Coppell’s men will be looking to pounce on the Islanders’ poor form. ATK will be without their talismanic defender John Johnson, who misses the game to a suspension. But Gerson Vieira and Andre Bikey have the capability to hold the fort at the back. Given that ATK will need to amp up their goal difference, the trio of Garcia, Manuel Lanzarote and Kalu Uche will be responsible for coming up with the goods upfront.

Here’s a look at ATK’s season in numbers:

MUMBAI CITY FC

After a strong finish to the first half of the campaign, fans and pundits were expecting Mumbai City to comfortably sail through to the knock-outs. However, the past month has seen them put in a series of poor displays, thus putting them in serious jeopardy of losing out on the top four. A victory will put them in pole position to qualify ahead of Jamshedpur and NorthEast, but they cannot afford to take things lightly.

The Islanders could only manage a goalless draw against their opponents during the reverse fixture earlier in the season but will be confident of getting a result in Kolkata. A major blow for Mumbai will be the absence of Rafael Bastos through suspension. The forward will be a crucial miss, but head coach Jorge Costa will turn to the likes of Paulo Machado, Modou Sougou and Arnold Issoko to make the difference.

Here’s a look at Mumbai’s season in numbers:

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:

ATK: Arindam Bhattacharja (GK), Pritam Kotal, Andre Bikey, Arnab Mondal, Ricky Lallawmawma, Gerson Vieira, Hitesh Sharma, Edu Garcia, Jayesh Rane, Manuel Lanzarote, Kalu Uche.

MUMBAI CITY FC: Amrinder Singh (GK), Sauvik Chakrabarti, Lucian Goian, Anwar Ali, Arnold Issoko, Subhashish Bose, Matias Mirabaje, Milan Singh, Raynier Fernandes, Paulo Machado, Modou Sougou.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • After qualifying for the semis for the first 3 seasons in a row, ATK are in danger to not qualify for 2 seasons in a row now.
  • Mumbai has now lost 3 matches in a row. They have never lost 4 matches in a row.
  • ATK has scored just 5 goals in the second half (lowest in the league).

FANSPEAK

Which manager will win the tactical battle?

  • Steve Coppell
  • Jorge Costa

Have your say in the comments section below.

Catch the match live on the Star Sports network, Hotstar and Jio Tv at 7.30 PM

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