The Mumbai manager has opined that the tie will be decided in the second leg…

Mumbai City FC are enjoying their best season ever in the Indian Super League after ending the league stage at the summit of the table with 23 points from 14 games. The Mumbaikars look like a transformed unit under the tutelage of their Costa Rican head coach Alexandre Guimaraes and are virtually unrecognisable from the teams of the past two seasons that finished in seventh and sixth spots.

Not only have Mumbai won more away games this season (3) than they did combined over the course of the past two seasons, their eight clean sheets are also the most by any team in the history of the league stage. They have also conceded the least number of goals (8) in the league stage of the ISL and are set to make their maiden semis appearance this year against Atlético de Kolkata. 

“We are in the semis for first time. (Atletico de) Kolkata have been here two times already,” the 57-year old Costa Rican told reporters on Friday when asked whether they have the edge over ATK going by form in the semi-final first leg at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Saturday.

“We are very excited to play our first semi-final. We are willing to do well like we did during the whole tournament. We will play against a team that is also offensive like we play,” he said, adding that the tie will be decided in the second leg in Mumbai.

“It will be decided in Mumbai,” the experienced coach opined. Guimaraes said his team’s identity is what drives them.

“The confidence that we have been very stable during the tournament is good. The players embrace the idea and are trying to play with the mentality in good and bad times. Confidence is based on team identity. We have to play to preserve the identity which is important for the Mumbai City FC project.”

Mumbai have a very strong attack led by marquee man Diego Forlan. In defence, Lucian Goian has been in top form.

“We have been very solid in defence but we don’t just defend. We have scored goals and have talented players upfront which give me the chance to choose from this bunch,” the coach said.

Asked if having the most noted big fish is an added incentive, Guimaraes said, “Indeed. His intention of development of football that you here are trying to do is visible. He is one of them who sets the precedent. He has shown his winning mentality and his professionalism. This is a guy who really wants to contribute for the team and development of Indian football.”

Report by Khel Now Correspondent Kushankur Rony Rakshit. Sports passionate and content writer. He is big football and cricket fan.