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Mumbai City locks horns with ATK
Mumbai City FC will be on the lookout for its second home win of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2019-20 season when it takes on the might of ATK at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Saturday.
After a stuttering start to its campaign, Mumbai City has found its mojo and is on a six-match unbeaten run, having won its last three games. The surge in form has seen MCFC (16 points) rise to fourth on the ISL points table. Three points against ATK (18 points) will see it leapfrog the third-placed team.
“It’s not the first time we are playing against ATK. It’s different when the opponent team has various systems. It doesn’t play all the games with three at the back, sometimes it plays with four. So, we must be prepared for both situations and we are,” said Mumbai City coach Jorge Costa. However, MCFC will have to find a way to silence a free-scoring ATK attack.
Though Mumbai City’s defence has shown improvement, conceding just one goal from open play in three games, muzzling the likes of Roy Krishna and David Williams won’t be easy. It will also have to do it without Paulo Machado, who has been ruled out for the season. The Portuguese midfielder’s authority has been vital to Costa’s plans.
Raynier Fernandes and Rowllin Borges will have to step up in Machado’s absence. “Machado is a fantastic player. It is good for football that he plays. As a coach, it’s not good for me to see an opposition player injured. But we will be missing Agus Garcia, who is very important for us. I think this balances it out,” said ATK coach Antonio Habas. On a positive note, Modou Sougou’s return to goal-scoring ways will add teeth to Mumbai City’s attack. ATK is also coming into this game on the back of an encouraging victory over Bengaluru FC. Habas’s side has had no problem scoring goals. It has pumped in 19 goals this season, the second-most by any team.
His talented attackers will look to hurt MCFC’s defence, which has not kept a clean sheet in its last eight matches. Though Agus is absent, Habas has strengthened the defence with the capture of Spanish defender Victor Mongil. The teams have a penchant for scoring late goals, as evidenced in the 2-2 draw they played out earlier this season.
It is very much possible that this might be yet another ISL clash that could see a twist in the tale.