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Sanju Pradhan stars, Sehnaj Singh drops anchor as Mumbai City edge ATK to stay afloat in ISL

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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The Indian duo played influential roles for the Islanders against the Bengal Tigers to keep their playoffs quest alive.

Mumbai City FC kept their dreams of a playoffs spot alive in the Indian Super League with a vital 2-1 win against ATK at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Sunday. After a thunderous opening goal from Marcio Rozario, the home side got the equalizer early in the 2nd half through Bipin Singh but Rafa Jorda found the winner, later on, to give Alexandre Guimaraes side three vital points against the lackluster defending champions. Let's take a look at the Player Ratings.

ATK

Sonam Porei- 5.0

Soram kept ATK in the game on many occasions

The ATK goalkeeper has been getting some game-time ahead of the poor Debjit Majumder in the past few games, but he hasn't really been able to prove himself to be better than his predecessor. Porei was again pretty lackluster against Mumbai City FC and didn't seem to be in control of his defense throughout the game. Apart from some basic saves, Porei was poor and let Rozario's free-kick go through his hands into the net. He couldn't do anything about Jorda's winner either and Sonam's underwhelming performance didn't do ATK's defense any favors.

Ashutosh Mehta- 6.0

Ashutosh Mehta has seemingly earned the trust of coach Ashley Westwood and was pretty decent against Mumbai City FC where he neutralized the threat of Everton Santos quite well through most of the match. The former Aizawl defender contained the threat in his side of the pitch with conviction this season, making 3 tackles and an interception to stop the Blues from attacking through his wing. While he wasn't the most effective on the attack, Mehta did his defensive duties pretty well apart from the 2nd goal where he could've marked Jorda more tightly.

Anwar Ali- 5.5



The experienced Anwar Ali was given a chance to impress against Mumbai's physical strikers and while he held his own in the physical department, he made some lapses in concentration which cost his side. Ali conceded a silly foul just outside his penalty box which in turn resulted in the opening goal and was guilty of sticking too closely with Jordi, with whom he doesn't seem to have the best of chemistries. Ali did recover in the 2nd half, making a respectable 5 clearances and couple of blocks, but he seemed very slow to properly contain the fluid attackers of Mumbai.

Keegan Pereira- 6.0

Keegan Pereira is someone who has almost featured in every game for ATK this season and despite their terrible season, he has maintained his form throughout the campaign. While Keegan hasn't exactly been bad, he's not been memorable either and this game was another one of those. While Pereira didn't let Mumbai penetrate through the right-wing much, he failed to do anything in attack and made some bad crosses. His impressive 5 blocks show how he isn't afraid to put his body on the line and Keegan again gave a decent outing at the Salt Lake stadium.

Darren Caldeira- 6.0

While ATK couldn't exactly win the midfield battle against Mumbai City on the day, they did have their share of possession throughout the match as their midfielders kept things rolling in the center. While Darren Caldeira wasn't really the most sparkling midfielder in the middle, he did his job of distributing play and keeping the ball ticking pretty well in midfield. With a passing accuracy of 85%, he retained the ball really well and even found himself in a goal-scoring situation in the 2nd half which he couldn't capitalize on. Unfortunately injured himself later on and had to be substituted.

Jayesh Rane- 4.0

Jayesh Rane had a day to forget against Mumbai City as he was absolutely neutralized by their players right from the get-go. Rane found it difficult to get space to run into and made quite a few mispasses which gave Mumbai the chance to counter-attack. He couldn't get into promising areas nor could he create anything special for his side and poorly possession multiple times in the match as well. Rane hasn't been the same ever since the injury he suffered prior to ATK's season kicking off and this poor showing proves his regression even more.

Bipin Singh- 7.5

Possibly the only bright spark to have come out of ATK's attack this season, Bipin Singh proved to be a livewire against Mumbai City as he tormented Raju Gaikwad and co on his wing. He made them stay on their toes as ATK looked to attack predominantly through his wing, as he put in some promising crosses and took many aims at goal. His persistence paid off when he made a clever run to find Conor Thomas' pass and cooly finished past Amrinder to equalize the score, doubling his goal tally for the season. Bipin seemed the only attacker trying to make a difference for his side and he earned the "Emerging Player of the Match "award for his heroics on the day.

Substitutions:

Hitesh Sharma- 6.0

Hitesh was brought on for Darren to provide something extra in ATK's attack and while he did sneak into a few promising positions, he couldn't create anything special for his side and wasn't helped by his side's inefficiency. Saw one free-kick get wasted and fizzed out of the game towards the end.

Prabir Das- NA

Prabir was brought on for Keegan to help Jayesh Rane on the left-wing and provide a bit of spark to ATK's attack, but he couldn't really do anything memorable on the day. One of his headers did find a man close to goal-range, but they couldn't steer it towards Amrinder's goal as Das would be rather ineffective otherwise.

Robin Singh- NA

Singh was brought on for his heading ability and physical presence as ATK reverted to hoofball towards the end of the game, but sadly he couldn't be a Fellaini and score a header to give them a point.


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Mumbai City FC

Amrinder Singh- 6.0

Amrinder proved to be rather solid against ATK's attack

Amrinder Singh hasn't kept a clean-sheet for Mumbai City FC since the turn of the year and that continued as he conceded a goal which wasn't really his fault. The composed goalkeeper was otherwise really sharp and concentrated throughout the game, making a few crucial saves from the limited chances ATK managed to churn up. He held his ground well and distributed play pretty superbly throughout the game, which didn't really get the best out of him because of the lack of work Singh actually had to do throughout the game.

Raju Gaikwad- 5.5

Raju came close to score but hit the crossbar instead

Arguably the weakest of defenders for Mumbai City on the day, Raju Gaikwad had a tough time dealing with Bipin Singh on his side of the field. He looked shaky throughout the game and almost gave away a penalty when he handled the ball, only for the referee to wave it off. The former Mohun Bagan man failed to track Bipin's run for the equalizer and let him score past Amrinder to get things level and even though he did improve after that making a few blocks and interception, Gaikwad had a poor showing at a stadium he's well accustomed to.

Sanju Pradhan- 7.5

Sanju Pradhan had a lot of history at the Salt Lake Stadium prior to the match against ATK and he continued his good run at his former home ground with a solid performance against the defending champions. The experienced midfielder seems to be very comfortable at the wing-back position given to him by Guimaraes and he often drifted in to help keep play moving and try and create something special for his side. While he was defensively solid, he created a few big chances for his side before delivering a peach of a cross which Jorda headed in for the winner. Pradhan was substituted for the more attacking-minded Balwant but earned the respect of many with a superb outing.

Sehnaj Singh- 7.0

Sehnaj Singh wasn't as visible as some of the other Mumbai City players on the day, but he did his job to the perfection of neutralizing the threat of ATK's attackers. Singh was especially good at containing Jayesh Rane on the left-wing, where he stuck to him and completely phased him out of the game. Sehnaj made a few important blocks and clearances to make his presence felt, but how well he dropped back and gave his defense cover proves how much of a great defensive midfielder he really is and how well he can help any team soak up pressure which ATK mounted towards the end.

Zakeer Mundampara- 6.5

Zakeer was given more freedom to pressurize ATK's midfield due to Sehnaj's sound work sitting in front of Mumbai's defense and he did that pretty well and made things difficult for the defending champions at the center of the park. Zakeer sometimes even wandered into attack to no avail, as his distribution and retaining of the ball was superb. He had a passing accuracy of 93% and made a stunning four interceptions during the game where he helped Mumbai win the midfield battle and reign supreme in the end.

Sahil Tavora- 6.5

Sahil Tavora proved to be quite convincingly defensive against ATK on Sunday Night as he put in a very good shift at the back for Mumbai City against the defending champions. Often operating from both the wings, Tavora seemed to be solid not only defensively but often tried to create things for Mumbai on the attack as well. He put in some decent crosses and did well to track back and contain ATK defensively, making three tackles and interceptions during his stay on the pitch. The former FC Goa man was replaced by Wadoo after Mumbai regained the lead but had done his job of neutralizing ATK's attack by then.

Substitutions:

Mehrajuddin Wadoo- 6.5

The experienced defender was trusted by his manager to get the job done and he did exactly that as he looked really comfortable in soaking in the pressure ATK could deal. Wadoo was pretty solid on the right-back spot and marked Rane out of the game after coming on, while also making some vital clearances and blocks for his team. Wadoo got the game over the line for his team and made quite the impressive showing in the 2nd half after coming on.

Balwant Singh- 6.0

Balwant was a surprise exclusion from the starting line-up due to being "unfit" to start, but Alexander Guimaraes gave his star striker a chance to shine by giving him some minutes in the 2nd half. While he looked lively at times and even had a shot breeze just past the goal, Balwant found himself defending mostly through his stint and had to focus on getting three points rather than aiming for a goal on the day.

Published: Mon Feb 19, 2018 03:33 PM IST

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