Forlan-less Mumbai take on buoyant ATK (ISL preview)
Mumbai, Dec 12 (IANS) Mumbai City FC will sorely miss their marquee footballer Diego Forlan against Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) in the second leg semi-final of the Indian Super League (ISL) match here on Tuesday.
Mumbai are trailing by a goal after losing the first leg 3-2 in Kolkata on Saturday.
Mumbai need to win by at least two goals to ensure a final berth while a draw is enough for ATK. A 1-0 or 2-1 result in favour of Mumbai will mean extra time.
ATK won the intense battle on Saturday after Mumbai had rallied to take a 2-1 lead in a frenetic first half which saw all the five goals scored.
The second dented the visitors’ moral severely when Forlan had to pay for his petulance after the Uruguayan kicked ATK midfielder Jewel Raja needlessly.
Though Mumbai coach Alexandre Guimaraes said they have sufficient cover to replace Forlan, it is a given that the 2010 World Cup Golden Ball winner’s absence will be a key factor.
ATK on the other hand are brimming with confidence. ATK drew eight of their 14 matches in the group stage.
That though didn’t bother coach Jose Molina but there have been sections of the people raising eyebrows over their lack of killer instinct.
“We beat Mumbai who have such a good attacking line and scored three goals against Mumbai’s defence which is also good. That goes to show how well we have played,” Molina had said after their win on Saturday.
ATK did not play a number of first team players including in-form goalie Debjit Mazumder against Mumbai. Molina later explained the decision saying the team has no fixed “first XI” and on Tuesday Dani Mallo may again be asked to man the goal.
ATK’s marquee man Helder Postiga and Canadian striker Iain Hume have combined well thus far and are likely to pose a formidable threat with winger Sameehg Doutie at the heart of their attacks. Doutie’s blistering runs down the right have been their strongest feature and the South African will look to continue his rich form.
Haitian Sony Norde, for Mumbai, can slot in for Forlan and the hosts will also hope India regular captain Sunil Chhetri comes out of his lull period and fires on all cylinders.