Both teams will look to draw first blood to stay ahead going into the second leg…
Atletico de Kolkata are no strangers to the ISL playoffs, being the only team to reach the last four every season; they even won the title in 2014. They may have lost their winning coach from that year, Antonio Habas, but Jose Molina has kept his troops just as competitive and hard to beat, with Kolkata losing just two games all season, the fewest among all teams.
Mumbai are in the playoffs for the very first time, but after finishing on top of the pack in the league stage, they head into the semis as the team to beat. Under a tactically astute Alexandre Guimares, Mumbai’s net has bulged only eight times this season, comfortably the least among all the sides. No team besides Delhi Dynamos has put more than one goal past them in a single match and Mumbai’s six wins in the league stage are the joint-most.
Both teams will go into this crucial match with a fully fit squad. Mumbai will get their star striker Haitian Sony Norde back after the talismanic striker missed the last few games in the group stages due to injury.
Both sides have had six meetings between themselves before tomorrow’s contest and MCFC have won thrice with the last being a 1-0 result courtesy a goal from marquee Diego Forlan and lost twice with a draw in the opening encounter between these two sides in this edition.
Man to Watch
Iain Hume-Atletico De Kolkata: Iain Hume is the leading goal scorer in ISL history. The first leg could well be decided by which of the two has a better game on the night. He has a total of five goals for ATK this season and has led the attack well. With quick feet and incisive finishing, the 33-year-old Canadian has been a threat for defenders throughout the league stage, and he would want to be on song when Mumbai come visiting.
Diego Forlan-Mumbai City FC: Mumbai’s marquee player Diego Forlan has been electrifying this season. With the first hat-trick of the season under his belt, the Uruguayan has displayed some eye-catching football. He has been involved in a total of seven goals for his team (five finding the back of the net and two assists). With clinical passing and deadly finishing, the 37-year-old has always been in the thick of things for his team this season and he will want to be at his destructive best when Mumbai visit ATK.
Atletico De Kolkata (4-2-3-1)- Majumdar, Kotal, Mondal, Sereno, Prabir, Borja, Lara, Pearson, Ruidas, Postiga, Hume.
Mumbai City FC (4-2-3-1)- Amrinder, Gerson, Goian, Sena, Aibor, Sehnaj, Vadocz, Sony, Deferdico, Sunil, Forlan.
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD, and Hotstar. You can also follow live commentary on Khel Now website by our ISL correspondent.
Report by Khel Now Correspondent Kushankur Rony Rakshit. Sports passionate and content writer. He is big football and cricket fan.