ISL 2018/19: ATK Challenge Awaits in-form Mumbai City

ISL 2018/19: ATK Challenge Awaits in-form Mumbai City

At present, Mumbai are on the third spot in the standings with four wins, one draw and two losses.

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Mumbai: In-form Mumbai City FC will look to register its fourth consecutive this season when it takes on former champions ATK in an Indian Super League game here on Saturday.

At present, Mumbai are on the third spot in the standings with four wins, one draw and two losses.

On the other hand, the season has been a mixed bag one for two-time champions ATK, who are on the sixth position with three wins and as many losses and one draw.

After receiving a 0-5 hammering by FC Goa in an away match, Mumbai bounced back in style by registering three consecutive wins against Delhi Dynamos FC (2-0) at home, Chennaiyin FC (1-0) and North-East United FC (1-0), both away matches.

The coveted ISL title has eluded Mumbai since the first season and head coach Jorge Costa and his men would be keen to stay among the top four teams.

This season, Mumbai boasts of formidable players both in defense and attack.

With defenders like Romanian Lucian Gohain, Congo's Arnold Issoko and Subhasish Bose, it will be a difficult task for the ATK strikers to breach Mumbai's wall.

And for the hosts, the role of custodian Amrinder Singh will be crucial. Amrinder, one of the experienced goal-keepers in the county, would strive hard to keep a clean slate.

Mumbai also possess equally good mid-fielders like Modou Sougou (Senegal), Md Rafique, Sanju Pradhan, Raynier Fernandes among others and forwards like Brazilian striker Rafael Bastos.

Mumbai head coach Jorge Costa expressed happiness with the team's show.

"I am happy as we won the last three games. The quality (of players) we can discuss it, but I am happy with the way we played and the team spirit. I am very happy with the players because the spirit which we have in the group is amazing," Costa told reporters at the pre-match media briefing.

Rating ATK as a "very good team", Costa said the match tomorrow won’t be an easy affair.

"They are a very good team with very good players and have a very good coach with a lot of experience. So, we won't expect an easy game tomorrow," said Costa.

ATK also come into the game after their 1-0 victory against Pune City FC in Kolkata and they would be hoping to continue the winning streak.

But ATK head coach Steve Coppell revealed that Uruguayan striker Emiliano Alfaro, who was brought as a replacement for injured Kalu Uche, has got a problem with his "achilles."

So ATK are most certain to miss the services of Alfaro, whose injury the coach said was "quite a serious" problem.

"We had to change centre forward with Kalu Uche and then we brought in Alfaro. Alfaro has got a problem with his achilles. We think it’s quite a serious problem, so he has taken medical advice on that.

"It’s an injury which occurred in training when he was just in isolation by himself, nobody near him. So he had done an initial MRI scan and now we are waiting for some expert opinions for the best way forward from here," Coppell noted.

In Alfaro's absence, a lot will depend on how Manuel Lanzarote and Everton Santos team up and attack the Mumbai goal.

Coppell also said that Mumbai was a strong and well-organised side.

"We respect that they (Mumbai City) are a strong team. They had a little bit of hiccup against Goa, but we know that they are a very well organised team and that's the challenge for us, to come here as an away team and try and break that defence down, but it’s a challenge we relish," he said.

The fans can expect an action-packed evening as football returns to the Mumbai Football Arena in suburban Andheri, nearly after a month.

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