Mumbai top the standings after Kolkata draw
Mumbai City FC moved to the top of the table after an entertaining 1-1 draw with Atletico de Kolkata in a Hero Indian Super League clash at Mumbai Football Arena on Tuesday.
The hosts were looking comfortable after Matias Defederico gave them the lead in the 27th minute but the home side were jolted when midfielder Pronay Halder was sent off for two yellow cards. The numerical advantage worked in Kolkata’s favour and they forced the equaliser in the 82nd minute to maintain their unbeaten record.
Atletico de Kolkata now have five points from three matches, while Mumbai City, also unbeaten, are at the top with seven points.
Mumbai FC were forced to leave out marquee player and star striker Diego Forlan after he failed to recover from a knock in the previous clash against NorthEast United FC. Forlan’s absence paved the way for Boithang Haokip to start for the first time and the talented youngster looked sharp in front of Kolkata’s goal.
Haokip’s first chance was as early as the ninth minute when Defederico picked him with a wonderful through ball but Atletico stopper Debjit Majumder averted.
Few moments later, the youngster tried his might on goal after being fed by Defederico but this time even though he beat the goalkeeper, the ball struck the crossbar and bounced back into play. The rebound could have been pushed into the goal but nobody got a proper touch and the visitors escaped.
Mumbai City got their deserving lead, thanks to some brilliant work from Defederico in the 27th minute. The Argentinean showed remarkable skill to control the ball with his first touch and then did even better to leave two defenders behind and slot the ball past a diving Atletico de Kolkata goalkeeper.
Kolkata were struggling to find their feet in the first half, but took the ascendancy in the second half. Borja Fernandez and Javier Lara were pulling the strings in midfield and their best chance to equalise came in the 65th minute. Lara’s cross from the right fell unexpectedly for Sameehg Doutie inside a crowded Mumbai goalmouth but Doutie only managed to tap the ball wide from handshaking distance.
In the 72nd minute, the visitors were handed a huge boost as Mumbai midfielder Pronay Halder was sent off for a second bookable offence. Atletico de Kolkata capitalised on the numerical advantage and got their equaliser through Lara. The Spanish midfielder was got away from Jackichand Singh at the top of the box and let got a fierce shot that sailed into the top corner of the nets.
With eight minutes still left to be played, Atletico de Kolkata pressed hard for the winner but the Mumbai defence did well to hold on for a point.
FC Pune City look to earn first win at home as they play host to NorthEast United FC
After losing their first game at home to cross-state rivals, FC Pune City managed to pick up three points in a tricky away fixture against FC Goa. The Stallions would move into a top half with a victory on Wednesday.
NorthEast United FC began their campaign with two straight wins at home before they came crashing down to earth with a defeat against Mumbai. Currently sitting at second on the table, a win would see the Highlanders regain their position at the top of the table
FC Pune City
Goalkeeper Edel Bete has started both the games for Pune this season, but has failed to keep a clean sheet in any of them. He is likely to start his third straight game, but will be hoping to maintain his first shutout of the campaign.
Rahul Bhelke, Gouramangi Singh and Eduardo Fereira have also featured in both games this season but are not likely to be given the nod for the third straight game in a row. With a tricky fixture list on the horizon, Antonio Habas may look to give a few of his players a much needed breather.
Jonathan Lucca and Dharmaraj Ravanan looked decent in the game against Goa and are set to be named in the starting eleven, deployed behind marquee man Mohamed Sissoko. Anibal Rodriguez will be the go-to option for the Stallions in the final third and will lead the line for them.
FC Pune City Probable XI (4-2-3-1): Edel; Bheke, Fernandes, Ferreira, Das; Ravanan, Lucca; N’Doye, Sissoko, Izumi; Rodriguez.
Subrata Paul has been impressive between the sticks for NorthEast and is likely to feature against Pune. Reagan Singh and Robin Gurung are set to feature as full-backs with Gustavo Lazzarretti and Mailson Alves as centre-backs.
Didier Zokora is likely to revert to his accustomed holding midfield position after playing as a centre-back in his last game. Katsumi Yusa and Holicharan Narzary will be looking to provide the Highlanders width with Emilian Alfaro leading the line.
NorthEast United FC Probable XI (4-1-4-1): Paul; Singh, Lazzarretti, Alves, Gurung; Zokora; Vusa, Borges, Velez, Narzary; Alfaro.
NorthEast United 0-1 FC Pune City
While the Highlanders have been in good form, they have always had troubles travelling, and Wednesday could prove to be more of the same. Pune have been decent at home, and are likely to set up in a structured fashion to maintain a clean sheet.