ISL 2019-20: Top four fight continues as Mumbai City, ATK meet

Mumbai City is unbeaten in its last six games but will face a tough challenge against ATK, which is second on the points table.

Published : Jan 03, 2020 20:04 IST , Mumbai

Mumbai City FC registered its first win at home, beating Hyderabad FC 2-1, in its last fixture.
Mumbai City FC registered its first win at home, beating Hyderabad FC 2-1, in its last fixture.

Mumbai City FC registered its first win at home, beating Hyderabad FC 2-1, in its last fixture.

The cohesion and composure in Mumbai City FC defence, after losing defender Sarthak Golui to a second yellow card offence against Hyderabad FC, is an ominous sign for the next team arriving to face The Islanders at the Mumbai Football Arena. ATK, guided by coach Antonio Habas into a top-four position in Indian Super League (ISL), faces a Mumbai team tightening up at the back despite losing key players, on Saturday.

Sarthak will sit out the next home game against Habas’ squad, whereas defensive midfielder Rowllin Borges’ availability is uncertain too. Playmaker Paulo Machado is ruled out for the season. However, goalkeeper Amrinder Singh’s presence under the crossbar, thrilling saves under pressure has raised his stature as the captain.

According to Habas, Mumbai has strong players in both attack and defence. He said: “Mumbai (City) is a dangerous opponent because they have a style of play. They have good strikers and wingers, are solid in defence. It is difficult (to face them) for all teams in this league because they are dangerous in attack and hard in defence. I think we will have our chances and have to use them.”

Placed higher in the league than Mumbai at the second spot, ATK has done enough to demand respect. Fijian striker Roy Krishna heads the league goal-scorers list with eight strikes, while his attacking partner David Williams, too has impressed with his five goals in 10 matches.

The Indian players in ATK have responded to the Spanish coach well with Jayesh Rane, Pritam Kotal and Sehnaj Singh playing the roles chosen for. ATK has added a new face to its defence -- central defender Victor Mongil, who was part of B teams of Atletico Madrid and Levante.

Mumbai gaffer Jorge Costa is thus aware of the threats to be neutralised. “It is not the first time we are playing them, but it is different when the opponent has a different system. They don't play all games with three at the back, sometimes they play with four. We must be prepared for both situations.” 

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