IISL 2017: Mumbai City’s slow starts hampering their progress

The Islanders have not been expressive at the start of games this season which hasn’t helped their cause…

It was only after ATK took the lead on Sunday night that Mumbai City FC sprung to life. In the first half, they had a couple of half chances but it was more a case of Amrinder Singh keeping them in the game.

The visitors dominated the proceedings in the first half with Ryan Taylor making his presence felt alongside marquee signing Robbie Keane. Zequinha’s runs down the left flank caused troubles to the Mumbai defence with Raju Gaikwad once again coming second best. The Portuguese was a constant menace and Mumbai struggled to contain him all evening.

In the six matches they have played, Mumbai have conceded first in three. It would have been four had Mohammed Rafi and Thoi Singh not been wasteful in their last home match against Chennaiyin FC.

Their slow starts have come to haunt them as only once have they managed to overturn the deficit to pick a draw.

It was only late in the game that Alexandre Guimaraes’ team threw the kitchen sink but Debjit Majumder was equal to the task with his brilliant shot-stopping ability.

ATK deployed a make-shift left-back in Ashutosh Mehta. The fact that they troubled him only late in the game is a testament to how they line-up.

Also there was a lot of chopping and changing on the field. Mehrajuddin Wadoo was changed from a centre-back to a right-back to a left-back. Raju Gaikwad too featured as a left-back for some time and the same for Abinash Ruidas. Sehnaj Singh was also seen playing in a defensive midfield role before being asked to play as a full-back. Same was the case with Sanju Pradhan.

Amrinder Singh Mumbai City FC ATK ISL 4 2017/2018

When you have good attacking players in Thiago Santos or even Pranjal Bhumij, who impressed in his cameo, why not give them a chance and be more assertive in the game which would make their football a bit more attractive?

They will be without the services of Sehnaj for the next game as he picked up his fourth yellow card. It will be interesting to see who Guimaraes opts to play in his absence.

Article continues below

For ATK, the win comes as a much-needed confidence booster. The Kolkata franchise looked a better outfit with the return of several injured players. Keane didn’t score a goal but was a constant nuisance for the likes of Lucian Goian.

Robin Singh certainly impressed with his performance on the night. The former Delhi Dynamos forward was difficult to contain as his physical presence provided ATK with an edge in their attack.

They next face fellow strugglers Delhi Dynamos at home which should ideally be an opportunity to pick another three points as they look to move up the ISL table.