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ISL: Atletico de Kolkata vs Mumbai City FC – What we can expect – Preview and Prediction

SENIOR ANALYST
Preview
6.80K   //    11 Oct 2014, 23:45 IST
Atletico De Kolkata host Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League opener

Indian Super League kick-starts tomorrow at the historic Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, also known as the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. The first match features the home team Atletico De Kolkata taking on the Bollywood superstar Ranbir Kapoor owned Mumbai City FC. This will mark the beginning of a historic tournament in the roadmap of Indian football.

The franchise form of the sport has finally reached India, and it has the glamour of the film industry, the appeal of current and ex-cricketers and the star value of marquee footballers from across the world.

Venue

Salt Lake stadium is a multi-purpose stadium located in the city of Kolkata.  Boasting of a capacity of 1,20,000, It is the biggest stadium in India and second biggest in the whole of Asia. The stadium has witnessed several historic events, most notably Oliver Kahn’s farewell match for Bayern Munich, Lionel Messi playing for Argentina against Venezuela in a FIFA international friendly match, legendary Cameroonian striker Roger Milla’s presence and last but not the least Diego Maradona’s visit.

Other than these events, the stadium is also the home ground of Indian giants, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan who play their famous derby match in the same ground.

The capacity has been reduced to 69000 due to the installation of bucket seats, but the atmosphere is expected to be one that puts fear in the minds of the opposition, as they cheer on for their home team.

Kick-off timing

October 12, 2014: 7:00 pm (IST)

Possible starting line-ups

Atletico De Kolkata (4-2-3-1): Subhashish Roy Chowdhury; Jose Miguel, Arnab Mondal, Sylvain Monsoreau, Mohanraj; Ofentse Nato, Borja Fernandes, Sanju Pradhan, Luis Garcia (c), Jakub Podany; Baljit. 
Atletico De Kolkata will start with the best possible side at their disposal. Luis Garcia will play in a different role, just behind the striker as he no longer possesses the speed which is required to operate from wings. Sanju Pradhan instead will take the right side. Borja Fernandes and Ofentse Nato will play the defensive midfield rolea with Climax Lawrence and Cavin Lobo come in at the latter stages.
East Bengal striker Baljit Singh Sahni is the best possible domestic option in the lone striker position. Due to the rule of fielding only 6 foreigners, Subhashish Roy Chowdhury might get the nod ahead of Edima Bete.

Mumbai City FC (4-2-3-1): Subrata Pal; Deepak Mondal, Manuel Friedrich, Pavel Cmovs, Syed Rahim Nabi (c); Nadong Bhutia, Asif Kottayil, Jan Stohanzl, Lalrindika Ralte, Thiago Ribeiro; Diego Nadaya.

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Mumbai’s coach Peter Reid will be on backfoot as the two best signings of the team will not feature in Sunday’s ISL opener against Atletico de Kolkata. Freddie Ljumberg will miss the starting line-up due to his recent injury. Nicolas Anelka is currently serving a ban imposed on him by the FA, but might be allowed to play. Ljungberg although will possibly be named among the 18 member match squad.

The team formation likely will feature only one striker, Diego Nadaya with Brazilian recruit Thiago Ribeiro operating just behind him. Lalrindika Ralte will operate from the left and Nadong Bhutia from right.

 Possible starting line-ups

Key facts and stats

1) Salt Lake stadium's capacity has decreased to 68,000, due to renovation, as new bucket seats have been installed in the gallery. Fans are sure to get a great match day experience.

2) Mumbai City FC will miss their key signings Freddie Ljungberg and Nicolas Anelka due to a fitness issue and a ban respectively. Ljungberg may feature in the latter stages of the game, and will most likely be part of the squad, while Anelka has apparently had his ban reduced, which will make him eligible for the opening fixture.

Key Battles

Lalrindika Ralte vs Jose Miguel

In the probable absence of stars like Nicolas Anelka and Freddie Ljungberg in Mumbai City FC’s starting line-up, Lalrindika Ralte can prove to be the trump card for Peter Reid. Didika’s intelligent movement down the flanks and passing from the middle of the pitch are extremely dangerous. Atletico’s right-back Jose Miguel should be very cautious to keep a check on the Indian midfielder’s runs.

Luis Garcia vs Manuel Friedrich

This battle is like the clash of the titans. Luis Garcia, the famous Spanish winger is the marquee signing of the Kolkata franchise. Due to his age, Garcia will operate just behind the striker. Manuel Friedrich will mostly be the most high profile star in Mumbai City FC’s starting line-up and he will be in charge of stopping Garcia down the middle.

Prediction

Atletico de Kolkata 2-1 Mumbai City FC

Match Officials

Chris Penso (USA)

Eric Boria (USA)

Mark Cahen (USA)

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