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Mumbai, November 23: Mumbai City FC are on a three-match winning run and are on course to chart history by winning four ISL matches in a row for the first time ever. Standing between them and the record are former champions ATK as they host them at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday.
Jorge Costa’s side haven’t conceded a single goal in their last three outings, a statistic which would certainly concern ATK. Also, of the eight goals they have leaked in, five came in one game (against FC Goa) which goes to show how miserly they have been at the back apart from that particular blip in Goa.
Arnold Issoko of Mumbai City FC during match 32 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between NorthEast United FC and Mumbai City FC held at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, India on the 9th November 2018
Photo by: Arjun Singh /SPORTZPICS for ISL
Sometimes, you get lucky and get three points but other times, it is not possible.,” said Costa.
However, they are the only team in the top five who have a negative goal difference which further highlights Costa’s philosophy of ‘results over style of play.’
Interestingly, ATK and Mumbai have scored and shipped in the same number of goals. However, the latter has amassed three points more than the former.
Mumbai City FC players practise before the start of the match 27 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, India on the 3rd November 2018
Photo by: Vipin Pawar /SPORTZPICS for ISL
“ATK are a very, very good team. They have very good players and a very good coach with a lot of experience. We will not expect an easy game.  It is true that their position in the league is not what they expected at the beginning but as usual, I will take care of the things that I can control and the things that I can control is my players,” stated Costa.
Komal Thatal of ATK warming up during the match 33 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between ATK and FC Pune City held at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium (Salt Lake Stadium) in Salt Lake Kolkata, India on the 31st October
Photo by: Arjun Singh /SPORTZPICS for ISL
ATK come into the game on the back of a solitary goal win over FC Pune City. They had signed Emiliano Alfaro on loan from Pune to replace the injured Kalu Uche. However, much to their dismay, the 30-year-old Uruguayan striker picked up an injury as well. Steve Coppell’s side have been forced to rope in Australian striker Eli Babalj who could be thrust into the spotlight as ATK look to break down a stubborn Mumbai defence.
ATK players warming up during the match 33 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between ATK and FC Pune City held at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium (Salt Lake Stadium) in Salt Lake Kolkata, India on the 31st October
Photo by: Arjun Singh /SPORTZPICS for ISL
“We respect that they are a strong team. They had a hiccup against Goa. We know that they are a very well organised team and that is the challenge for us to come here as the away team and try and break that defence down and it is a challenge we relish,” said Coppell.
Gerson Vieira will continue to operate in the midfield with Andre Bikey and John Johnson forming the centre-back partnership. Komal Thatal’s pace down the right flank will be a cause of concern for Mumbai.
Pronay Halder of ATK during practice session before the match 14 of the Hero Indian Super League 2018 ( ISL ) between Jamshedpur FC and ATK held at JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur, India on the 21st October 2018
Photo by: Deepak Malik /SPORTZPICS for ISL
Pronay Halder and Everton Santos have been amongst the better performing players for the Kolkata club this season. Santos, in particular, has had to operate as a midfielder which is not his natural position.
In a clash between two pragmatic coaches, it will be interesting to see who blinks first and goes for the jugular.

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