As ISL–3 league stage came through some great ups and downs, the Sunday night virtual Quarter Final between Kerala and North East fixed up the four teams that will be through to the semis, the teams that go through are Mumbai City FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, Kerala Blasters FC and Atlético De Kolkata.
As much as the above pasted playoff fixtures are concerned, Atlético De Kolkata are to go up against the team from bollywood, Mumbai City FC. Having finished fourth in the league table, ATK will have to make a full proof strategy to over-power the teams that finished higher in the league table .i.e. Mumbai City FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, and Kerala Blasters FC.
A handful of entertainment and chewed up nails are expected as the two in-form teams, ATK and MCFC lock horns to assure themselves of the ticket to Kochi, where the Grand Finale is to be hosted on 18th December. ATK and MCFC has already come up twice against each other this season, with ATK managing to pull up a 1:1 draw at the Mumbai Football Arena, courtesy to a late equalizer from the ATK midfield maestro, Javi Lara, while the visiting team, Mumbai City FC stole all the three points at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, courtesy to a solitary goal from the Mumbai-Marquee, Diego Forlan. Will ATK be able to turn it around in the semifinals? Only time will tell!
Talking about turnarounds, ATK needs to turn around their home record, with just a solitary game remaining at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium. The fans hasn’t yet got to see the best from the First Champions at the new home stadium.. Can ATK score some goals on 10th December and take a warm farewell from the ATKFans? Well well well.. They surely can! ❤
ATK hasn’t had the best of goal scoring runs this ISL and injury to Iain Hume hasn’t really helped the cause.. But the Superman-From-Canada has been deemed fully fit and is expected to put up some heroic performances as ATK look to approach the business end of the tournament. The South African winger, Sameehg Doutie has also recovered from the hamstring pull, sustained during the away match at Delhi, he is also expected to get a start in the semis and come up with a star performance against the defense of Mumbai City FC, with likes of Lucian Goan leading the defensive line.
ATK’s Jersey Number 19, Juan Belencoso was drafted in from Spain with a loads of expectation to lead the attacking line of ATK and provide the likes Iain Hume and Helder Postiga with a handful number of crosses/passes, but its quite shocking how the Not-So-Striker has himself missed sitters in front of open goals. The 35 year old has hardly got 100 touches this ISL season, having featured in almost every single game ATK played. Our doubts on Juan Belencoso’s quality still persists.. We do hope that he proves us wrong in the coming knock-out games, provided he still gets opportunities to play, courtesy to his former Kitchee FC boss, José Francisco Molina. This is what the ATK Coach had to say when we hinted him about Juan Belencoso’s form.
I’m sure he’s equally not happy. But the only thing I told him was congratulations, you did a great job. I’m sure he has it in him to score more goals. I’m absolutely happy with Belencoso’s efforts! – Coach Jose Molina on Juan Belencoso.
ATK’s midfield has always kept possession in their favor, but hasn’t quite justified the fact by creating a number of clear cut chances in the attacking third. The ever shining duo of Borja & Pearson has compelled each other well in the defense, as well as in the attacking third, whenever required. If ATK’s is to come through a team like Mumbai City FC, Borja & Pearson will have to showcase their A grade game on 10th and 13th December and create a number of opportunities for the Marquee-Man, Helder Postiga and the Canadian Star, Iain Hume.
ATK management has finally stated that the South African winger, Sameehg Doutie has recovered from the hamstring pull & as well as from viral fever and he is all set to appear in the Starting XI of the semi finals. Should this happen, ATK will be having seven obvious contenders for the six foreigners/overseas quota (Javi Lara, Tiri, Doutie, Hume, Postiga, Pearson and Borja) .. If that was not enough, Dani Mallo Castro’s eye-catchy performance against FC Pune City might also be taken under consideration, and you never know, he might be put in front of the goal, ahead of the local lad, Debjit Majumdar.. Dani’s inclusion sums up a total of eight contenders for the six foreigners/overseas quota in the Playing XI and considering at ATK Coach, Jose Molina’s love for 35 year old, Juan Carlos Rodriguez Belencoso, his appearance in the Starting XI can never be ruled out.. NEVER!!
Throwing light on ATK’s semi finals counterpart, Mumbai City FC has one of the best defensive line in the tournament and probably the best attacking line, courtesy to the active signings they made prior to the season. Goal scoring responsibilities rests on the shoulders of the Uruguan Marquee, Diego Forlan and Indian Ace, Sunil Chhetri.. Just one of these names are enough to give nightmares to any defensive line in the Hero Indian Super League. If that was not enough, Mumbai City FC also features stars like Sony Norde, Leo Costa, Defederico and Lucian Goan.
The former ATK goalkeeper, Amrinder Singh has looked ever reliable in front of the bars and is yet to concede a goal in Hero Indian Super League Season 3. Having said that, his former teammates, Borja Fernandez, Iain Hume & Javi Lara will be equally aware of the fact that the same goalkeeper just kept a single clean sheet for ATK in season 2 and will be pretty aware to the weakness of the Bengaluru FC Goalkeeper.
A whole lot of questions are to answered when Team ATK steps up to lock horns with the team from bollywood, Mumbai City FC on the 10th and 13th of December!
That’s all we’ve got from the preview this time around. Until next time, you guys have a great day and keep humming, #AamarBukeyATK! ⚽