The reigning Indian Super League Champions Atletico de Kolkata have successfully made it to the semi-finals of this year’s competition. They sit atop the league standings, having accumulated 23 points from 13 games thus far with a record of seven wins, two draws and four losses. The assured displays of the Kolkata-based side means that they are the favourites to retain the title they won a year ago.
After an iffy start to their campaign, Antonio Lopez’s men seem to be peaking at the right time. They have been unbeaten in their last five games, winning four and drawing the other. If they continue in the same vein, it is hard to see past them for the title favourites.
In last season’s competition, Atletico de Kolkata were given a run for their money in the semi-final when they were held to scoreless draws in both legs of the semi-final by FC Goa, and managed to make it to the summit clash only after a penalty shootout. A solitary strike from Mohammed Rafique settled the affair in favour of the Royal Bengal Tigers.
The West Bengal outfit will be looking to stamp their authority in the knock-out stages this term and they certainly have the wherewithal to do so. Iain Hume has been the standout player for the side, having notched up two hat-tricks in his haul of nine goals. Arata Izumi and Sameehg Doutie have chipped in with four and three strikes each respectively.
Augustin Fernandes and Arnab Mondal have formed a formidable centre-back pairing, while Rino Anto and Tiri have been deployed as right-back and left-back respectively. Borja has done a tremendous job of shielding his team’s defence from his role as the defensive midfielder. His composure on the ball has enabled him to initiate attacks from his deep–lying position on the pitch. Jaime Gavilan has been a livewire on the left wing, contributing to the attack with is runs down the wing.
If Lopez’s men continue in their form of the recent games, the other three teams will be hoping to avoid Atletico de Kolkata in the last four.