While the east coast is battered by HUDHUD, about thousand miles away in Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium will witness the much-anticipated Indian Super League opener that promises a high degree of excitement at 7:00 pm IST on Sunday evening.
Spaniard Luis Garcia taking on German defender Manuel Friedrich or Lalrindika Ralte plsaying against French defender Sylvain Monsoreau, the entire play is going to be befitting opener to two-month long football extravaganza in the country for the first time on par with the cricket-crazy nation that knows IPL fever every year.
Home team Atletico de Kolkata or ATK in brief will show its mettle on the ground that helped Diego Simeone’s side break the duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga. An upbeat Spaniard Miguel Martinez, the team’s fitness coach said: “We will play the Atletico way.”
Echoing similar confidence, ATK coach Antonio Lopez Habas said, “We are developing into a unit with winning mentality.”
Habas with vast experience heading Valencia and Bolivia is tipped to use 4-4-1-1 formation or 4-2-3-1 where ex-Real Madrid player Borja Fernandez will lead the midfield to confine Mumbai City FC’s attack to the minimum. With Cavin Lobo dropped from the 18-man squad, Luis Garcia, the UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2005, will play behind striker Spaniard Arnal Llibert.
Mumbai City FC, not lying low, will have to make sure its Swedish and Arsenal star Fredrik Ljungberg returns to the ground as he is rumored to be out in the opener due to injury.
Mumbai City has some Indian football greats like Subrata Paul, paid huge amount in the auction, as the first-choice goalkeeper with veterans Deepak Mondal and Rahim Nabi in defence and Lalrindika’s fierce presence in midfield and Peter Reid’s side fielding. The return of suspended French player Nicolas Anelka is over with the AIFF stating he is “free to play.”
Where to Watch Live: Starsports1, Starsports 3 and Starsports HD will telecast the opener live while Starsports.com will provide live streaming information online.
Prediction: ATK is poised to play a superb attack resembling the parent team’s name and fame today and Mumbai needs to defend the best way it could or else be prepared to lose the match.
Probable Line ups:
Atletico de Kolkata: Subhashish Roy Chowdhury; Arnab Mondal, Denzil Franco, Sylvain Monsoreau, Nallappan Mohanraj; Josemi; Sanju Pradhan, Borja Fernandez, Luis Garcia, Jakub Podany; Mohammed Rafi.
Mumbai City FC: Ishan Debnath; Syed Rahim Nabi, Pavel Cmovs, Manuel Friedrich, Deepak Mondal; Nadong Bhutia, Jan Stohanzl, Johan Letzelter, Lalrindika Ralte; Sushil Kumar Singh, Diego Nadaya.