Mumbai: With its campaign in tatters after three consecutive defeats, Mumbai City FC needs to regroup quickly as it finds itself in a must-win situation against a formidable Atletico de Kolkata in an Indian Super League match, here on Sunday.
Having just 12 points in as many matches, the bottom-placed side is virtually out of contention for a semi-final berth after a string of lacklustre performances.
Mumbai's chances are hanging by the thread as they have to win both their remaining matches (including the game against ATK) and further their hopes to qualify would also depend a lot on ifs and buts.
Things are definitely looking bleak for the Peter Reid-coached side, which has conceded 9 goals in its last three games and without the presence of key players, it is going to be a daunting task against the Kolkata side.
The hapless side has been plagued with injuries to its strikers, which hasn't helped their cause.
The attack looks toothless without French import Nicolas Anelka and Brazilian Andre Moritz. Anelka had missed the last three ties due to a groin injury and it remains to be seen whether the star player will be risked in the all important clash tomorrow.
Hat-trick scorer Moritz had sustained a hamstring injury against Chennaiyin FC in the last home game and is unlikely to be fit.
Marquee player Frederik Ljungberg has spent most of his time away from the field nursing injuries and in the short time that he has played, the Swede has looked out of sorts.
The former Arsenal star had missed the previous game against Pune City FC due to an injury and his participation looks doubtful.
Indian forwards Subash Singh and Abhishek Yadav, who have a goal each to their credit, would have to pull up their socks and pump in goals to harbour any hopes of qualifying for the play-offs. Subash has been guilty of squandering chances and the hosts would hope he comes good and converts the chances in the penultimate league clash.
The Ranbir Kapoor-owned side has scored just 9 goals while conceding 19 and defenders Pavel Cmvos, Manuel Fredrich, Johan Letzelter, skipper Syed Rahim Nabi would have to come up with better performances to help custodian Subrata Paul.
On the other hand, ATK would be eyeing a win to seal a spot in the semi-finals.
After being table toppers in the league, the Sourav Ganguly-owned side has slipped to the third spot but a win against Mumbai will assure them a berth in the play-offs.
The Antonio Habas Lopez-coached side have no dearth in firepower but have been struggling with just one win their last eight games.
With 18 points from 12 matches, ATK's marquee signing Luis Garcia had said they are anxious to win against Mumbai to clinch a spot in the semis.
"Not desperate, but yes we are anxious to get the points and get through. Our target from the beginning of the season was to make the semis cut, we have been close in last few games," the former Liverpool player had said.
The visitors would be without the services of Spanish midfielder Jofre Mateu Gonzalez has been ruled out after picking up a ligament injury.
One of the biggest concerns for the visitors is the lack of goals from their striker force. After dominating the league early on, the Kolkata outfit hasn't been able to maintain the same performance and they would look to find the back of the net more often against the side they routed 3-0 in the inaugural match of the ISL.
Their ace Ethiopian striker Fikru Teferra's form seems to have deserted him after his sublime performance in the first two games and the visitors would hope the 28-year old comes to the party in this important match, and increases his goal tally of four from 10 appearances.
Kingshuk Debnath, Arnab Mondal, Josemi and N Mohanraj form the core of ATK's defence and the four have done well so far and would look check the lacklustre Mumbai attack.