Both teams have an eye for the ISL Trophy.
ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC are set to fight it out in the second Indian Super League (ISL 2022-23) knockout tie at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Saturday. A spot in the ISL playoffs against Hyderabad FC awaits for the winner and form goes out the door for this game.
With both sides having gone through plenty of ups and downs in the league phase, they’ll aim to bring their very best to the table and grind through a win to take a step closer to the ISL title.
ATK Mohun Bagan
The Mariners had a tough league stage in the ISL that was nearly destroyed because of injury problems. Juan Ferrando had to work with 12 players in training at times. Losing the likes of Joni Kauko and Florentin Pogba threatened to deter their season – but ATKMB fought through the storm to secure a respectable third-place finish.
But there is no point in their recent resurgence if they get eliminated in the first knockout tie. ATKMB head into the game with two big wins and momentum on their side. A loss at home, where they’ve been dominant so far, can be a really embarrassing end to the ISL season. Ferrando has to rally his troops to produce their very best and use their superior quality to brush aside the visitors.
Odisha FC had to work really hard to pip FC Goa to a place in the first-ever ISL knockout ties by winning two of their last three league games. Josep Gombau has deployed a fearless, attack-minded style with a relatively limited squad and seen them outscore the likes of ATKMB, Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters this season.
For Odisha, only one more win separates them from a first-ever spot in the ISL playoffs. They weren’t able to defeat the Mariners in the league stages, but did rattle them with encouraging performances. Gombau will hope to motivate his side to expose ATKMB’s vulnerability and rattle them in the knockout tie.
While a defeat won’t be end-of-the-world consequences for Odisha, they would definitely want to reward their loyal fans by producing their best performance of the season at the Salt Lake Stadium to move ahead in the playoffs.
Injury & Team News
The Mariners will be without players like Deepak Tangri, Joni Kauko and Florentin Pogba – with all of them out for the rest of the season. Carl McHugh faces a race against time to recover for this match and it could be touch and go for him. Brendan Hamill might be out for personal reasons. As of now, Odisha FC have a fit roster to choose from.
ATK Mohun Bagan have faced Odisha FC on six occasions so far in the ISL and are unbeaten against them.
ATK Mohun Bagan – 3
Odisha FC – 0
Drawn – 3
ATK Mohun Bagan (4-2-3-1)
Vishal Kaith (GK); Asish Rai, Pritam Kotal, Slavko Damjanovic, Subhasish Bose; Glan Martins, Carl McHugh, Manvir Singh, Hugo Boumous, Ashique Kuruniyan; Dimitri Petratos
Odisha FC (4-4-2)
Amrinder Singh (GK); Shubham Sarangi, Narender Gahlot, Carlos Delgado, Sahil Panwar; Isak Vanlalruatfela, Saul Crespo, Thoiba Singh, Nandhakumar Sekar; Pedro Martin, Diego Mauricio
Player to Watch
Ashique Kuruniyan (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Ashique Kuruniyan had a really eventful game against Odisha FC the last time he faced them. The winger absolutely tormented Narender Gahlot with his electric movement and was a menace on the left wing. He was among ATKMB’s biggest attacking threat, creating exciting situations and also testing Amrinder Singh on occasions.
However, Ashique lost his head towards the end. After being persistently fouled by the Odisha FC players, he lashed out at Carlos Delgado and was sent off for that. Ashique will need to keep a cooler head on Saturday, and aim to hurt the Kalinga Warriors in another way. The winger will be extra motivated for this and he can be a dangerous player when under fire.
Ashique’s ability to drive past opponents is well-known, but he needs to be more assertive in the final third to really hurt Odisha. Irrespective, the battles on the left involving Ashique will be a treat to watch and he can be a decisive factor for the Mariners in the game.
Diego Mauricio (Odisha FC)
The joint-top scorer in the ISL, Diego Mauricio has been an inspired leader in attack for Odisha FC this season. The Brazilian forward has led from the front, scoring 12 goals and providing four assists. He has contributed in more than 50% of their total goals this season and been a menace for defenders.
Mauricio needs to retain his goal-scoring form to terrorize the hosts on Saturday. The 31-year-old can be a nightmare with his off-the-ball movement and smart link-up play in the final third. His unpredictable style allows him to get into the key scoring areas quite often, with his crisp finishing having helped him soar this season.
Mauricio will aim to keep the ATKMB defenders busy by being a pest in the final third, helping free up space for teammates. He’ll also look to drop into promising situations and continue his goal-scoring heroics to help Odisha produce a special result at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Did You Know?
- Vishal Kaith has made 61 saves in this ISL season, more than any other goalkeeper in the division.
- Diego Mauricio (16) has the second-highest goal contribution for any player in the ISL this season.
- Despite playing as a centre-forward, Dimitri Petratos has created more chances (51) than everyone else in the ISL.
- ATK Mohun Bagan boasted an impressive home record in the ISL league stages. They won seven out of their 10 home games, losing to Mumbai City, Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC.
The match between ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC will take place at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on March 4 (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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