ISL: Mumbai, Kolkata in fray for top spot (Preview)

Mumbai, Oct 10 (IANS) Mumbai City FC’s winning run in the ongoing third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) is expected to be seriously challenged when they meet former champions Atletico de Kolkata in an interesting third round clash at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Tuesday.

Mumbai City FC won their first two matches without conceding a goal, and although both victories were achieved by solitary goal margins, coach Alexandre Guimaraes should be pleased with the clean sheets.

Atletico de Kolkata are also unbeaten. Having drawn the opening game against Chennaiyin FC, the former champions bounced back in style to put it across Kerala Blasters.

“We are all quite pleased with the start to the season. It’s a totally different feeling that the team and fans have. The echo from the other teams is also different; they are thinking this is going to be a different season for Mumbai City. It’s good but we know that we have just started,” Guimaraes said.

“In such a league, you have to stay alert. There is not much time to celebrate or cry. You have to be competitive always,” the Costa Rican added.

There will not be any easy games in the ISL as the difference between all teams is minimal. With two victories under his belt, Guimaraes will be bristling with confidence but knows that Atletico de Kolkata will provide them with a tough challenge.

“Tomorrow is a tough game against a good team that retained players from last season, particularly foreigners. They have a good knowledge of each other. We have to continue to play our game and remain focused. We have to be solid and compact,” he said.

The visitors were full of praise for the league’s pace-setters with Atletico de Kolkata coach Jose Molina insisting that the clash between the two teams with similar playing styles should be an interesting one.

“We know we are here to play against a strong team. They played two matches, won both, six points and two clean sheets. That’s a very good beginning for Mumbai. We want to play our game (against Mumbai). We have similar styles and it will be an interesting match,” Molina said.

Mumbai City’s marquee player Diego Forlan played a crucial role in both wins for his team. The former Uruguay striker created the only goal of the match in their opening clash against FC Pune City and then scored off a second-half penalty in the next clash against NorthEast United FC.

Atletico de Kolkata, however, have not drawn up any special plans for the star striker.

“There is no special plan (for Diego Forlan). I don’t like to focus on one player. I think they have good players in attack, midfield and defence. I like my team defending as a team, together, and against a team, not one or two players. We know how to defend,” Molina said.

Mumbai City FC share the top position on the points table with NorthEast United FC at six points each. On the other hand, Atletico de Kolkata and Delhi Dynamos are at four points each at the second position.

A victory for either team — Mumbai City FC or Atletico de Kolkata — will take them to the top of the table.



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