ISL Preview: Buoyant ATK look to carry forward home momentum against Mumbai
Kolkata, Oct 24 (IANS) Buoyed by their first home win after a string of three draws at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium, Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) will look to go top of the points table when they play the return leg against Mumbai City FC in an Indian Super League (ISL) football tie here on Tuesday.
In their first meeting at the Mumbai Football Arena on October 11, both sides played out a 1-1 draw.
A Iain Hume late penalty earned ATK a much-needed win against Delhi Dynamos last Saturday, catapulting the former champions to second place from fifth.
ATK though were lucky to have not played out another draw as Delhi’s Marcelo Pereira fluffed his lines from the spot minutes before ATK took the lead.
Against Mumbai, who are smarting from a 0-1 defeat to lowly FC Goa, home coach Jose Molina will have his task cutout before his side play three away matches on the trot against North East United FC, FC Pune City and Delhi.
Javi Lara — who was out of the last game due to illness — is expected to be back in the starting lineup while Arnab Mondal should also take his place alongside Tiri at centre back as Portuguese new recruit Henrique Sereno is suspended.
Helder Postiga is still doubtful due to his rib injury which means Juan Belencoso will play up front with Hume playing as second striker.
Coming to Mumbai, the visitors have been dogged by injuries in recent games where they have failed to bag three points since their soliary goal win over table-toppers North East United.
The good news is the return of marquee player Diego Forlan after missing out on three games. The talismanic Uruguyan seemed off-colour against Goa but in his two games played so far, Forlan has one goal and an assist which should keep coach Alexandre Guimaraes happy.
Besides Forlan and Haitian attacker Sony Norde who has also looked good since returning from national duty, Mumbai also have Matias Defederico, Leo Costa, and Krisztian Vadocz who have put in decent shifts so far.
In defence, Romanian defender Lucian Goian has been in good form sliding in 21 tackles in the season so far, the second highest behind Pune’s marquee Mohamed Sissoko.
Both the sides have met five teams before with ATK and Mumbai winning twice apiece and playing out a tie this term. All meetings in the previous editions have been high-scoring affairs.
While ATK are on nine points from five matches, Mumbai a point less playing a match more.