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Test Of Character for the Highlanders: Preview of ATKMB FC vs NEUFC

All Or Nothing for North-East

The second leg of the second semi-final between the Highlanders and the Mariners lock horns in a match that Khalid Jamil has called an eliminator. North-East United FC came back from a goal behind to get a deserved draw. Idrissa Sylla headed home an injury-time equalizer after a much-inspired performance in the second half.

The Mariners were dominant in the first half with their counter-attacking threats. And their constant threats paid off with David Williams's slick finish. However, the home team bounced back after the break and were rightly rewarded with a BordoiSylla header. Khalid Jamil mentions the team is here to enjoy the pressure and thrive on the fact that it's winner-takes-all for both the teams, "We are not thinking about the last game. This match will be like an eliminator and we know that the winner of this match will earn a place in the final. This is good motivation for the boys.”, said the coach.

Fans were dejected when the in-form Brown did not feature at all in the previous game, but coach Alison said in his pre-match conference that he has trained a couple of sessions and would be assessed by the medical team ahead of the selection. That is one motivating news to come from the camp as Brown completes the system of play that North-East United have honed and applied well under Khalid Jamil.

Highlanders would expect the form to be back and carry on the confidence from the last quarter of the last game to have a spot in the final. FC Goa played a stalemate yet thrilling encounter with Mumbai City FC last night that was dragged to the penalities. Mumbai City edged out a 6-5 win against their regional rivals. Coach Alison is wary of the game being dragged on to the end and demands his team to be ready for any challenge. “We have to be prepared for the scenario of an extra 30 minutes or penalties at the end of this match.”, said Alison.

ATK Mohun Bagan

The Mariners would be disappointed with the perseverance of their rivals and would like to bounce back with a win to take them to their 4th final (as ATK) and the first as the new entity of ATK Mohun Bagan. Coach Habas says it would be another challenge for them but there is no pressure on them. He also mentions that Sandesh Jhingan might probably join the ranks again after the injury.

The Highlanders need to keep an eye not just on their perennial threat Roy Krishna, but also on the likes of Manvir and Williams who had a good game against us. The team needs to be more focused and forward-thinking, and sloppy mistakes must be avoided.

With all to play for in the mouth-watering clash, we can only wish for the best of the scenarios, to be a step closer to history. Even if we fail, let us fail in the most beautiful of the ways.

Up The Highlanders

We Walk Through This Together

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