Indian Super League: Must-win tie for Mumbai City FC against ATK

Defender Tom Thorpe doubtful for ATK, Goian and Rozario for Mumbai CIty FC ahead of crucial clash in the Indian Super League

football Updated: Feb 17, 2018 20:02 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Indian Super League,ISL 2017-18,ATK
ATK are currently eighth in the Indian Super League (ISL) points table.(ISL / SPORTZPICS)

The voodoo dolls are out again, said Ashley Westwood, ATK’s interim coach who seems likely to see out the rest of the defending champions’ annus horribilis in the Indian Super League (ISL).

Tom Thorpe, Westwood said, got injured at training on Saturday and could be doubtful for Sunday night’s game against Mumbai City FC. With Robbie Keane, Zequinha and David Cotterill out, ATK could struggle to field five fit foreigners in their penultimate home game in ISL4. Again.

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That has been one of the reasons why the league’s most consistent team has gone south in the standings and, for the first time in four years, are out of contention for a semi-final berth. “Can’t remember the last time we had five foreigners on the pitch and three on the bench,” said Westwood. It happened only once, against FC Goa here on January 3.

And they haven’t just been hobbled by injuries to foreigners. “I think Eugeneson Lyngdoh is one of India’s finest midfielders. Robbie was perhaps the best centre-forward in the league in terms of reputation,” said Westwood. Keane has featured in six games and Lyngdoh, who was with Westwood at Bengaluru FC, was out in the third, away to Jamshedpur FC. “If it was just injuries to those two, we could still have dealt with it,” said Westwood.

Mumbai City FC need to win here to keep alive slim chances of progressing to the knockouts. They have had a mid-season slump, having won one of their last six games, and though coach Alexandre Guimaraes said the team has performed well, he knows that alone won’t be enough to ensure semi-final berths in successive seasons.

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The 1990 World Cup player with Costa Rica too may not have a full complement of foreigners to choose from. Defenders Lucian Goian of Romania and Marcio Rozario of Brazil are doubtful, said Guimaraes.

“It has been like this from the first game. For one reason or the other, I have not got all eight foreigners to choose from. I will only get to know who is available after talking to the medical team after lunch tomorrow,” he said.

The visitors are here after losing their last two rounds and that means their recent form is worse than ATK who came back twice against Kerala Blasters to end a run of four straight losses during which chief coach Teddy Sheringham was sacked. Also, Mumbai City FC are one of the three teams ATK have managed to beat this term.

ATK have 13 points from 14 games and are eighth in the 10-team competition. Their opponents have 17 from 14 games and are seventh.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 17:28 IST