Mumbai City FC have not dropped points in their opening two games this season, securing two wins albeit via narrow margins. Season 1 champions Atletico de Kolkata are on the back of a 1-0 win against Kerala Balsters, after playing out a thrilling 2-2 draw against Chennayin FC in their opening fixture.

As witnessed in the first couple of editions of the ISL, it does not take much time for the pendulum to swing and the points table to change. With that in mind, Mumbai CIty FC and Atletico de Kolkata will leave no stone unturned as they face off at the Andheri Sports Complex on Tuesday.

Team news and Tactics

Mumbai City FC

The hosts are still without the humble services of Sunil Chhetri and Sony Norde because of national duty. However, in Diego Forlan, Mumbai City FC have probably the most prolific goalscorer to have graced the ISL. Matias Defederico is already a fans’ favourite in Mumbai after putting in a shift in the first two games. Alexandre Guimaraes chose to keep mum over any injury concerns in the pre-match press conference, and said he will take a call on the match day.

Matias Defederico skilfully traps the ball.
Matias Defederico skilfully traps the ball.

The former Costa Rican manager is expected to field an unchanged lineup for this one as it is paying dividends, in the form of six points off two games. The 4-4-2 formation suits the Ranbir Kapoor-owned team with Defederico playing just behind Forlan in the hole.

The duo have showcased wonderful understanding in two games. Several times in the first half against Northeast United FC, Defederico looked to release Forlan instantly and could read the Uruguayan’s runs perfectly. Like Anelka-Moritz in season 1 and Chhetri-Norde in season 2, Mumbai City FC’s South American duo is showing tremendous promise.

Probable IX: Roberto Tigrao, Lucian Goian, Anwar Ali, Lalhmangaihsanga Ralte, Aiborlang Khongjee, Pronay Halder, Sehnaj Singh, Krisztián Vadócz, Matías Defederico, Gérson, Leó Costa, Diego Forlán

Atletico de Kolkata

Atletico de Kolkata, along with Chennayin FC, are ISL’s most consistent team. They’ve made the playoffs in both of the previous two campaigns and made history after a dramatic late winner made the Sourav Ganguly-owned team champions of the first ever ISL season.

Jose Molina’s men haven’t started this year’s campaign too badly, but given the minimal margin for error in the ISL, Atletico de Kolkata will want to start off where they left against Kerala Blasters in the previous match. Like Mumbai City FC, Molina will want to name the same eleven that won against Kerala Blasters.

Atlético de Kolkata’s Javi Lara unleashes a powerful shot.
Atlético de Kolkata’s Javi Lara unleashes a powerful shot.

Javi Lara has been one of the best performers of ISL 2016 so far. The 30-year old Spaniard is deadly from set-pieces and is not shy of shooting. Postiga and Hume will be the threat to Mumbai City FC’s goal, with the latter being ISL’s most prolific goalscorer so far with 17 goals.

A 4-2-3-1 formation is expected from the Kolkata outfit, with Doutie, Hume and Lara behind the club’s marquee player Helder Postiga.

Probable IX: Debjit Majumder, Prabir Das, José Luis Espinosa Arroyo, Arnab Mondal, Pritam Kotal, Javier Lara Grande, Jewel Raja Shaikh, Borja Fernández, Sameehg Doutie, Hélder Postiga, Iain Hume.

Key Clash: Diego Forlan vs Arnab Mondal

Uruguayan legend Diego Forlan is an absolute treat to watch and is this season’s biggest gift to the ISL. As Northeast United FC manager Nelo Vingada rightly pointed out in the press conference following his side’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mumbai City FC, Forlan isn’t the player that he was ten years ago. But with one goal and one assist so far this season, the former Atletico Madrid striker has already shown glimpses of his class that made him one of Europe’s most feared strikers.

27-year old Arnab Mondal will come up against Forlan on Tuesday, and although he will have more than a few butterflies in his stomach, the Indian international will know it will be a moment to cherish. He will have the difficult task of keeping Forlan at bay, knowing that his team will have a great chance of getting something out of the game if he manages to do so.

Prediction: Mumbai City FC 2-1 Atletico de Kolkata

Both teams have tremendously strong frontlines and given the decent firepower in midfield, we expect this game to end in anything but a dull stalemate. With Postiga-Hume on one end and Defederico-Forlan on the other, goals are almost a certainty in this one. We’re going with a 2-1 victory for the home side given the fact that they haven’t conceded this season and look eager as ever to get their hands on the prestigious Indian Super League trophy.

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