On a high after three-consecutive victories at their home ground, Mumbai City FC will aim to maintain the momentum when they face off-colour defending champions Atletico de Kolkata in an Indian Super League (ISL) match at the DY Patil Stadium here on Sunday.
Managed by former French World Cup winner Nicolas Anelka, Mumbai come into the match with a 5-1 victory over NorthEast United FC on Wednesday where star striker Sunil Chhetri scored the first hat-trick by an Indian in the tournament.
The hosts are currently placed in the fourth position in the standings after a superb run lately with 10 points from six games. They have won three matches, lost two and drawn one.
On the other hand, the visitors have lost their previous three matches and find themselves in the sixth spot with seven points from six games, having won two, drawn one and lost three.
India national team skipper Chhetri, who is currently the top scorer of the ISL’s second season with six goals from four outings, will once again be the man to watch out for on Sunday.
Besides extending his lead in the goal scoring chart, his focus will be to help his team gain full points ahead of several tough away matches ahead.
Alongside Chhetri, the hosts will again depend on in-form Haitian forward Sony Norde, who has produced some excellent chances, assists and has 17 shots on target in the ongoing tournament. Playing as a left-winger in this tournament, the former Boca Juniors man is one of those responsible for Mumbai’s superb performance.
Anelka, who has taken on the extra responsibility of being Mumbai’s marquee-player-cum-coach, is yet to display his skills on the field this season.
The French football great has confined himself to only coaching roles so far and will be happy to have got the combination right in the last three matches.
On the other hand, plagued by injury blues and couple of losses recently, defending champions Atletico de Kolkata must ensure that they do their homework right ahead of this crucial match.
ATK coach Antonio Lopez Habas will have to dig deep into his reserves to pull out forwards who can give the Mumbai defence a run for their money.
Marquee player Helder Postiga is still nursing an injury and the team is surely feeling the absence of the Portugal international, who was the star for the side in the season 2 opener against Chennaiyin FC.
Habas would know what his side’s weaknesses are and would plan his strategy accordingly. Baljit Sahni and Canadian Ian Hume will be the key men for the side upfront.
Head-to-head, Mumbai and Atletico have won one game each in their last two meetings.