New Delhi: Mumbai City FC is all set to take on Atlético de Kolkata in the first semi finals of the third edition of the Indian Super League on Saturday (December 10) at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune, Maharashtra.
While Mumbai City is a first time semi-finalist at India's biggest football event, Kolkata is, on the other hand, the only team to qualify for all three semi-finals of the Hero Indian Super League.
Now, an experienced Kolkata and a hungry Mumbai, that sure guarantees a classic first leg of the 1st semi final. So, here is a look at how both the teams have performed during the league stages of the Indian Super League.
Mumbai City FC:
Under the tutelage of their Costa Rican head coach Alexandre Guimaraes, Mumbai City FC are definitely having their best season of the Indian Super League – topping the chart with 23 points from 14 matches.
This is a sharp contrast to the last two editions of the ISL where they finished on seventh and sixth spots.
While their revival is the talk of the tournament, one cannot leave the roles played by players such as Diego Forlan, who is their top scorer of the edition with 4 goals, and Sunil Chetri, who is yet to find the back of net but has been vital in the attacking force.
Their eight clean sheets in the league, the most by any team in this edition, also speak volumes about their defence and goalkeeper. Interestingly, Mumbai City FC were the first to quality for the semi-finals with a game to spare.
In the words of their coach Alexandre Guimaraes, “We were never contenders for the title in the previous seasons but we are now.”
Now, that sure is a warning.
Atlético de Kolkata:
The team that has been in form for all the three editions – Champions in the first edition, semi-finalist in the second (losing 4–2 on aggregate to Chennaiyin) and the present (3rd) edition. Their fate in the lastest edition will, however, be decided when they meet Mumbai City FC during the first semi-finals on Saturday and the second semi-finals on Tuesday (December 13).
The most consistent team of the 3rd edition of the Indian Super League, de Kolkata lost just 2 matches, a record at the league stage. Interestingly, the team also has the record for the most draws during this edition – eight.
In all, Atlético de Kolkata secured 20 points from 14 matches which ensured that Jose Molina’s men finished fourth, thus qualifying for the semi-finals.
While their journey to the semi-finals may seem like a fairytale, one cannot deny the roles played by Iain Hume, the team's top scorer with 5 goals, and a certain Spaniard named Javi Lara who has been known for his quick feet, pin-point passing accuracy and fine finishing.
Head to head:
The two teams have met six times over the last three editions with Mumbai City FC coming on top with 3 wins against Atlético de Kolkata's 2 win. They have drawn just once on October 11, 2016 with the scores reading 1:1.
Atlético de Kolkata: (Goalkeepers) Dani Mallo, Shilton Paul, Debjit Majumder; (Defenders) Henrique Sereno, Tiri, Arnab Mondal, Kingshuk Debnath, Pritam Kotal, Robert Lalthlamuana, Prabir Das, Keegan Pereira; (Midfielders) Jewel Raja, Borja Fernández, Sameehg Doutie, Bikramjit Singh, Bidyananda Singh, Lalrindika Ralte, Ofentse Nato, Stephen Pearson, Abhinas Ruidas, Bikash Jairu, Javi Lara; (Forwards) Juan Belencoso, Hélder Postiga, Iain Hume
Mumbai City FC: (Goalkeepers) Amrinder Singh, Roberto Volpato, Albino Gomes; (Defenders) Aiborlang Khongjee, Ashutosh Mehta, Gerson Vieira, Anwar Ali, Lucian Goian, Sena Ralte, Lalchhuanmawia, Facundo Cardozo, Munmun Lugun; (Midfielders) Krisztián Vadócz, Léo Costa, Jackichand Singh, Boithang Haokip, Pronay Halder, Sony Norde, David Lalrinmuana, Matías Defederico, Otacilio Brito Alves, Sehnaj Singh, Rakesh Oram; (Forwards) Gastón Sangoy, Diego Forlán, Sunil Chettri