Atletico de Kolkata & FC Pune City Play Out A Goalless Draw
Atletico de Kolkata settled for a goalless draw against FC Pune City, at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Kolkata, on Friday. The hosts had already qualified for the playoffs for the third season in a row, while FC Pune City were already out of the tournament. Playing for pride, FC Pune City could have finished 5th with a win ahainsy season 1 champions. Former Altetico de Kolkata coach Antonio Habas set out a strong side for their final game of ISL 2016, but didn’t really get much joy out of the game.
Arindam Bhattacharya was chosen over Edel, and the Indian didn’t disappoint. He was stunning in goal, and the first clean sheet in eight matches was the only saving grace for FC Pune City. Atletico de Kolkata were the dominant side as you’d expect, and a third placed finish in the table means they will play the vital second leg of the playoff away from home. Belencoso missed a couple of wonderful opportunities to put the hosts in front, but Bhattacharya was equal to it. It was a pretty dull game as you’d expect, with not too much at stake. The result meant FC Pune City fail to qualify for the playoffs for the third time in a row while Atletico de Kolkata have never failed to qualify, being the most consistent team in ISL history.
Mumbai City FC and Delhi Dynamos battle for top spot
Both Mumbai and Delhi have qualified for the playoffs way before the others, but still have plenty to play for at the Andheri Sports Complex on Saturday. The two teams will lock horns to secure top spot in the table before the playoffs, a feat never achieved by either club.
Team News and Tactics
Mumbai City FC
The hosts have been the best team in the ISL so far this season, and will be looking to continue the brilliant streak against the might of Zambrotta’s Delhi Dynamos. Team selection could be a tricky conundrum for head coach Alexandre Guimaraes, as the team has already made it to the playoffs. However, with the sort of schedule that the ISL has, consistency is key. Guimaraes is expected to line up a strong team to face Delhi, especially given that they had a ten day break.
Sunil Chhetri, yet to score in the tournament, suffered a slight nibble in the match against Chennayin, but the gaffer confirmed that the ‘Warrior’ will be fit to face Delhi. The Indian captain, who seems to be saving his best for the playoffs, will play behind Forlan. Their partnership upfront along with support from Matias Defederico has worked wonders for Guimaraes. The backline will consist of the solid presence of Lucian Goian, Anwar Ali, Sena Ralte and Khonjee. Kristian Vadocz will look to provide protection to the back four, as he so successfully has throughout the tournament.
Delhi Dynamos FC
Attackingly, Delhi Dynamos have been the best team in the ISL. Fluid and lethal, Zambrotta’s men are banging goals against every opposition. Marquee man Florent Malouda has been the pivotal figure as you’d expect, with Kean Lewis and Marcelinho wrecking havoc from either wing.
Zambrotta was not satisfied with his team’s display against Northeast United FC, and expects more from his players in the clash against Mumbai. The Lions have led the table for major spells in the tournament, and they could leapfrog Mumbai with a win on Saturday. Like the hosts, the visitors too, will not want to lose momentum in the business end of the campaign. Delhi are expected to field their best eleven on the pitch.
Mumbai City FC 2-2 Delhi Dynamos
When the two sides met in Delhi earlier in the season, it ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw. If neither team make many changes to the side, the fans will be in for a treat at the Andheri Sports Complex. We expect more to the same, as two of the best teams of ISL 2016 clash in the race for top spot.