The Mariners will aim to stop the Islanders on their track.

ATK Mohun Bagan hope to kick off their 2023 in style by getting back into the Indian Super League (ISL 2022-23) championship race by defeating the unbeaten Mumbai City. The Mariners took the Islanders to the limit in their last game, playing out a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Mumbai Football Arena.

Juan Ferrando’s side hopes to do one better at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday and stop their opponents’ uncontested charge towards the league title. A win could help propel the Mariners, while dropping points can see their AFC Cup dream end once and for all.

The Stakes

ATK Mohun Bagan

ATK Mohun Bagan will play their first game in over two weeks, with their opening match of 2023 being a really tough one. Juan Ferrando has persistently stated that his side’s ambition is to win the league stages and play in AFC competitions next year.

To guarantee their continental dreams, they will need to win the ISL league stages. They are currently 10 points behind the league leaders. They need to win at least six, if not all of their remaining games to have a shot at defeating Mumbai City and Hyderabad FC in the race.

To do so, they’ll need to defeat Mumbai City. The stakes are huge for ATKMB, because the Islanders have been their kryptonite in recent years. A win can give the Mariners newfound confidence to end the season strongly and prove themselves as the best in the ISL. If not, then they might be forced to focus on qualifying for the ISL playoffs.

Mumbai City

Mumbai City are operating at a different level than everyone else in the ISL 2022-23. With 10 wins in 13 games and 40 goals scored, the Islanders have surged past the majority of their opponents in this campaign.

But one team they’ve been unable to defeat is ATK Mohun Bagan. The Mariners were incidentally the last team to take points off Mumbai City, before they went on an eight-game winning run. While they might be in impressive form, Des Buckingham’s side know that they can’t become complacent.

With Hyderabad FC at their tails, the Islanders need another big win against a formidable opposition to unnerve their title challengers. After being frustrated by the Mariners in their last meeting, a lot is on the line for Mumbai City to win at Kolkata and prove them as the league’s undisputed best.

Injury & Team News

The Mariners lost the likes of Joni Kauko and Florentin Pogba to injuries earlier this season. In turn, they’ve roped in Federico Gallego and Slavko Damjanovic as replacements. Puitea should also be available in this one. Tiri and Avilash Paul are still out.

Mumbai City suffered a few injury scares in their last game, with Greg Stewart, Apuia and Ahmed Jahouh suffering knocks. Stewart might be a major doubt for this one, while Buckingham faces a late fitness test over the others. Oh yes, Jorge Pereyra Diaz is out for this encounter due to suspension.

Head-to-Head

ATK Mohun Bagan have faced  Mumbai City six times in the ISL and have never won a game against them.

ATK Mohun Bagan – 0

Mumbai City – 4

Drawn – 2

Predicted Line-ups

ATK Mohun Bagan (4-2-3-1)

Vishal Kaith (GK); Asish Rai, Pritam Kotal, Brendan Hamill, Subashish Bose; Lenny Rodrigues, Carl McHugh; Liston Colaco, Hugo Boumous, Ashique Kuruniyan; Dimitri Petratos

Mumbai City (4-2-3-1)

Phurba Lachenpa (GK); Rahul Bheke, Mehtab Singh, Royston Griffiths, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy; Lalengmawia ‘Apuia’ Ralte, Ahmed Jahouh; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Alberto Noguera, Bipin Singh; Greg Stewart

Player to Watch

Dimitri Petratos (ATK Mohun Bagan)

Dimitri Petratos (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Dimitri Petratos has proved to be a really prolific signing for ATK Mohun Bagan, being an unpredictable clog in their frontline. The Australian forward has scored five goals and provided six assists for them, contributing in 11 of their 17 goals so far.

Petratos’ clever off-the-ball movement can torment defenders, while his final product has mostly been impressive. He can whip in inviting crosses into the box as well as smack some menacing shots on goal. Petratos will probably be a handful for the Islanders and the key to unlocking their backline with his movement as well as solid final product.

Lallianzuala Chhangte (Mumbai City)

Lallianzuala Chhangte (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Lallianzuala Chhangte has found his calling at Mumbai City this season and is thriving under Des Buckingham’s system. The India international has been an absolute menace on the right wing and showcased an adorable ruthlessness in his game. He has scored seven goals this season, being the highest-scoring Indian player in the league.

Chhangte has shown a lot of variety with his finishing, being accurate with his shots and taking his chances well. He has also created opportunities with precise crosses and is likely to be a thorn for ATKMB. Coming up against Subhasish Bose – who has the occasional error in his game – Chhangte is likely to cause ATKMB major trouble.

Did You Know?

  • Mumbai City have scored 40 goals in the ISL this season, their highest-ever in a single ISL campaign.
  • ATK Mohun Bagan have won their last five games in a row at the Salt Lake Stadium.
  • Mumbai City have created the most big scoring chances in the ISL 2022-23; 148 chances in 13 games. Greg Stewart has created the most; 38 chances.

Telecast

The match between ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City will take place at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata, on January 14 (Saturday). The kick-off time is 7:30 pm IST. The game will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network. Disney+HotStar and JioTV will also stream the match.

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