Defending champions Atletico de Kolkata will be looking to cement top spot in the league when they take on Mumbai City FC from the bottom half of the table, here in a Hero ISL fixture on Friday. Having won the last three outings at home, ATK will have the momentum which coach Antonio Habas will seek to maintain against the visitors.
The match, which remained uncertain till the evening as Mumbai City FC were unable to fly out of the deluged Chennai, is on schedule after the ISL organisers arranged the exit bringing together a great logistical manoeuvre. According to the organisers, Mumbai travelled by road to Tirupati in Andra Pradesh before boarding a chartered flight to their base in Mumbai. The team is scheduled to take an early flight out of Mumbai on Friday to reach the venue. Mumbai FC will not get the chance to practice at the venue and play the match straight at the scheduled time in the evening.
With incessant rains putting Chennai out of gear and making the departure of the team uncertain, the situation was apt to invoke the ‘Force Majeure’ clause. The ISL offered Mumbai City a future reserve day to play the game but the latter’s management insisted on having the match as scheduled, as they did not want to disappoint fans in Kolkata who had bought tickets in advance, according to a release sent by ISL.
The visitors, having crashed out of the tournament following a host of unsuccessful outings in the second stage of the league, have only pride at stake in the upcoming encounter. Nicolas Anelka, the World Cup winning French player-manager of the team, has not been able to get his resources right especially in the second phase where they have remained winless (losing four and drawing three in the last seven rounds).
On the other hand ATK, after encountering rough weather in the initial phase have made a spectacular turn around in the second phase (winning four and drawing once in the last five rounds). The hosts, who had beaten Mumbai 4-1 at the latter’s home in the first phase, would be looking to bring their late efflorescence to a successful end against its last league opponent.
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