ATK hoping to finish the job against Mumbai City

ATK will be looking to make to its second final in ISL, and complete the job against Mumbai City FC in second leg of the semifinal at the Mumbai Football Arena.

Iain Hume has proven to be a matchwinner for ATK so far.   -  Special Arrangement

Both Atletico de Kolkata and Mumbai City have adequate big-match players in their squad, capable of decisive performances when they face off in their Hero ISL 2016 second-leg semifinal at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Tuesday.

But it is Mumbai which has all the running to do as Atletico needs only a draw to go through to the summit clash. Having lost 3-2 to the visitor in the first leg at Kolkata, Mumbai needs a win at all costs.

In midfielder Borja Fernandez, and forwards Javier Grande and Iain Hume up-front, Atletico has the strike force which knows the route to goal and a knockout game in the opponent’s den is enough to bring out the best in them.

There are enough leaders on the pitch for Mumbai City as well, willing and capable of sharing the workload in the absence of captain and inspiration Diego Forlan for the high-stakes tie.

Lucian Goian in the backline, Krisztian Vadocz as the linkman, and Matias Defederico and Sunil Chhetri in attacking positions have given enough indications about their individual ability to be impact players.

As things stand, the absence of a free-kick specialist Forlan is not enough to dilute the quality in this knockout clash. The Uruguayan World Cupper will be in the stands, his two bookings in the first-leg semifinal forcing a status change from a crowd-puller to spectator.

For fans agonising over the MCFC captain’s absence in a must-win contest at home, there will be no shortage of raids on goal and counter-attacks to keep those in the galleries roaring in excitement.

Hume’s reputation as a goal-getter gets him attention from defenders, but not enough to keep the Canadian away from seven goals in 13 matches this season.

Spaniard Grande has conjured stunning goals and remains the dangerman with 20 shots on target for ATK. Fernandez’s tally of tackles reads 44 in 14 games and is a high calibre playmaker.

Central defender Goian from Romania is Mumbai City’s backbone in its own half, leads the tackles list with an astonishing 70 in 15 appearances as per www.indiansuperleague.com and is the frontrunner to wear the captain’s armband.

Vadocz was a livewire on the pitch right through the competition, and ATK’s success in keeping the Hungarian busy with defensive duty will have a bearing on the outcome.

Mumbai City will hope for another standout show from this versatile player, credited with three goals, five assists, and 34 tackles in 15 first-team appearances. So will strikers Defederico from Argentina and Chhetri, who will bank on their teammate for passes.

Portuguese World Cupper Helder Postiga and Brazilian surprise packet Otacilio Alves can emerge match-winners for ATK or MCFC respectively on Tuesday night.

Postiga is relishing a withdrawn role, while the left-footed Otacilio is a confident player with great passing ability and keeping strikers Defederico, Chhetri or Sony Norde busy. With such variety on show at MFA and leaders on the turf ready to assume responsibility in Forlan’s absence, MCFC can spring a surprise.

  Dugout videos