What happened when the ISL semifinalists met in the league stage?
The league stage of ISL 2016 has ended and the four teams that have made it to the semi-finals are Mumbai City FC, Atletico de Kolkata, Delhi Dynamos FC and Kerala Blasters FC. Here's a look at how the four teams fared when they faced each other in the league stages. While a two- legged semi-final is another ball game altogether, there can be hints as to what can be expected as the ISL heads into its business end.
Mumbai City FC vs. Atletico de Kolkata
Mumbai were reduced to 10 men when Pronoy Halder carelessly got two yellows which helped Atletico sneak a point in an end-to-end encounter at Mumbai's new abode - The Mumbai Football Arena. Matias Defederico scored his second goal in three games before Javi Lara scored in the 82nd minute to snatch a point for the away side. Halder's sending off in the 72nd minute helped Atletico force numbers in search for an equaliser and after two wins, both of them clean sheets, Mumbai dropped their first points of the season.
A tight game saw both teams almost cancel each other out but one moment of inspiration from Mumbai's Haitian winger Sony Norde changed the course of the game. Diego Forlan scored in the 79th minute meeting Norde's cross that took a deflection of Prabir Das. Mumbai center-back Lucian Goian - probably the best defender in the league stages- put in a masterclass in defence as Atletico's front-line of Ian Hume, Sameehg Doutie and Javi Lara failed to trouble Mumbai.
Kerala Blasters vs. Delhi Dynamos
A sluggish game at Kochi saw Kerala register their first point in their third game of the season. The scoreboard was a fair reflection of the game where both teams were only in the process of finding the right balance at that stage in the league. Kerala were marginally the better side with Sandesh Jhingan in the centre of defence producing a match-winning performance. Attacking opportunities were few and far between, and it was the men at the back that kept the game goalless.
Both the teams had already found their stride by this stage but it was Delhi that came out on top to break Kerala's unbeaten run of six games with an all-round performance. Two goals in the space of four minutes from Kean Lewis and Marcelinho in the second half broke Kerala's resilience and with half an hour to go, the visitors failed to produce a comeback. Delhi were dominant and with Kerala missing Vineeth, Gianluca Zambrotta's side took away three easy points.
Saturday, Dec 10 - Atletico de Kolkata v Mumbai City FC
Sunday, Dec 11 - Kerala Blasters v Delhi Dynamos
Tuesday, Dec 13 - Mumbai City FC v Atletico de Kolkata
Wednesday, December 14 - Delhi Dynamos v Kerala Blasters