ISL 2016 | Semifinal Preview : Atletico de Kolkata vs Mumbai City FC

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© ISL

ISL 2016 | Semifinal Preview : Atletico de Kolkata vs Mumbai City FC

The first semifinal of the 2016 ISL season between ATK and Mumbai City will be played at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday. Ahead of the clash we look at how the teams led by Jose Molina and Alexandre Guimaraes have reached the last-four and could line up against each other.

While Atletico have been the most consistent team in ISL history, Mumbai City have shed their tag of poor performers from the previous two seasons to finish top of the table while also becoming the first team to seal the qualification this season. Despite the group-stage clashes between the sides resulting in a draw and a win for Mumbai, ATK will still look to pose a tough challenge on their home turf.

Mumbai City FC:

 © ISL

Road to semifinals:

After finishing in lowly positions of seventh and sixth in the first two editions of the ISL, Mumbai have made up for all their previous debacles with a first place finish in the 2016 edition. Under Costa Rican coach Alexandre Guimaraes, the Mumbaikars have looked like a totally different outfit, losing just three of their 13 group-stage fixtures and that too by a narrow 1-0 scoreline. Though they have scored eleven goals lesser than the league's top scorers Delhi Dynamos (27 goals), Mumbai have kept an impressive eight cleansheets while conceding a miserly eight goals in the group stage. Having bagged a victory at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on their previous victory, Diego Forlan and co will be favorites to get that crucial away goal from the first leg.

Team News:

Despite their fast counter-attacking style, Mumbai have managed to keep their set of key players injury-free ahead of the key semifinal clash against ATK. Star striker duo of Sunil Chhetri and Diego Forlan will look to make their partnership click on the biggest occasion and will be raring to go up against the Atletico defence on Saturday. In midfield, Krisztian Vadocz and Sehnaj Singh have provided a brilliant link between the attack and defence and there is hardly any doubt that the pair will start on Saturday. While it is unknown where Gerson Viera would play in the back four, the Mumbai backline looks solid under the leadership of Lucian Goian and might come out on top against the Atletico attack led by Javi Lara.

Predicted line-up (4-4-2): Amrinder Singh; Lalhmangaihsanga Ralte, Lucian Goian, Anwar Ali, Gerson Viera; Brito Alves, Matias Defederico,  Krisztián Vadócz, Sehnaj Singh, Udanta Singh; Diego Forlan, Sunil Chhetri

Atletico de Kolkata:

 © ISL

Road to semifinals:

Atletico became the only side in the ISL to reach the last four in all three seasons when they confirmed their progression with a 1-1 draw in their penultimate group match against Kerala Blasters. Though the winners of the inaugural edition started this season with a series of draws, they picked up the pace in the latter stages of the competition by going undefeated in their last six games. Despite using the services of star striker Iain Hume cheaply this season, ATK have rode on the performances of Javi Lara, who has been sensational in the attack and registered 20 shots on goal which is the second highest in the tournament so far. But Atletico's home form will worry coach Jose Molina as they have only won just one match and drawn five while losing a match in Kolkata this season.

Team News:

Besides doubts lingering over midfielder Nato due to a knee injury, the home side will be hoping to improve their home record with a win over their high-flying opponents. Youngsters Abhinash Ruidas and Bidyananda Singh might once again start on the either flanks after playing key roles in recent matches alongside Javi Lara while we can expect Helder Postiga to be introduced from the bench. But it will be upto misfiring striker Belencoso to find the net for Atletico and it will be a big challenge for him to get past the best defence in the league. Molina might go with Stephen Pearson and Borja Fernandez in midfield with doubts lingering over Nato's fitness and Jewel Raja not being a sure starter. Once again, the pairing of Arnab Mondal and Tiri will have the big task of stopping the Mumbai attack spearheaded by Diego Forlan from getting a sniff at the goal.

Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1): Debjit Majumder; Robert Lalthlamuana, Tiri, Arnab Mondal, Pritam Kotal; Stephen Pearson, Borja Fernandez; Ruidas, Javi Lara, Bidyananda Singh; Beloncoso

Predicted result: ATK 0-1 Mumbai City:

Owing to Mumbai's fine run in the tournament and Atletico's poor home form, it is more likely that the Diego Forlan-led side might come out of the match with an away goal. Also given the slew of draws ATK have gone through, they might not be able to contain the brilliance of Forlan and Chhetri.

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