AFC Cup: Group D leaders Mohun Bagan SG face Bangladeshi giants Bashundhara Kings
Mohun Bagan SG won their opening two matches in AFC Cup 2023-24
The Mariners have been forced to play one of their ‘home’ games away from Kolkata but will look to maintain their impressive form after the October international break.
Bashundhara Kings are looking to produce something surprising to oust the Mariners and return home with a positive result to keep their hopes of getting into the knockout rounds alive.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant
Mohun Bagan SG are flying high on form and have not lost a single game in any competition since their Kolkata Derby loss to East Bengal in the Durand Cup back in August. Juan Ferrando is utilizing his strong squad depth well and is benefitting from the admirable chemistry formed between his players.
With the Mariners’ prime target being to go deep into the AFC Cup knockout stages this season, they are expected to top their group easily. They will look to fight their way to another big win in the competition. While a draw won’t be the worst thing, a loss can make things too tight in the race to qualification. Mohun Bagan have to take this game seriously and perform at their optimum quality to outwit the Bangladeshi side.
Coming off their hard-fought win over Odisha FC, Bashundhara Kings might be cautiously optimistic about their chances of getting a result against the Mariners. The Kings have dominated the Bangladesh Premier League for the last three years but found the continental games to be a totally different ball game.
Bashundhara will hope that their quality foreign contingent can help them sting the Indian side and go toe-to-toe with them. The Kings are not the favourites to win this, but if they do, that will be huge for their prospect of making it to the knockout stages. A loss, however, can create a six-point difference with leaders Mohun Bagan SG and significantly decrease their chance to top the group.
Injury & Team news
Mohun Bagan SG will still be without rapid winger Ashique Kuruniyan, who is expected to be out for the majority of the season due to a knee injury. A number of their players were involved in the international break, but fortunately for Ferrando, the rest of his squad is fit.
Bashundhara Kings are likely to bring a strong squad to India for this upcoming game. This will be one that is packed with foreign players because of the new AFC Cup laws allowing more foreign stars to feature for their teams.
This will be the first time that Mohun Bagan SG and Bashundhara Kings will be facing each other in any competition. However, before that, the erstwhile ATK Mohun Bagan had faced Bashundhara Kings twice in the last few years – winning one game and playing one draw.
Mohun Bagan SG (3-4-1-2)
Vishal Kaith (GK), Anwar Ali, Rafael Yuste, Brendan Hamill, Manvir Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Subashish Bose, Hugo Boumous, Dimitri Petratos, Jason Cummings
Bashundhara Kings (4-2-3-1)
Mehedi Hasan (GK), Biswanath Ghosh, Tariq Kazi, Boburbek Yuldashev, Md Saad Uddin, Asror Gafurov, Didier Brossou, Rakib Hossain, Miguel Figueira, Robinho, Dori
Players to Watch
The Australian forward has been on fire for the Mariners in the AFC Cup this season, scoring four goals in as many games. He’s scored twice in the group stages, with both coming in his side’s thrilling win over Maziya S&RC in the last round. Cummings has been a menace for opposition defenders, with his clever off-the-ball runs and ability to skip past his marker helping him open up his side’s attack.
The Australian forward is an expert finisher and doesn’t need too many chances to score. He’ll look to torment the Bashundhara backline by being a proactive figure in the final third, linking up smartly to help build up dangerous attacks and getting himself in the right positions to maintain his goal-scoring spree.
Bashundhara Kings’ winger Robinho is probably their most influential attacking star and someone who loves taking the fight to the opposition. The Brazilian winger has a lot of tricks up his sleeve, which he looks to utilize to torment the defenders. Robinho is really slick with his dribbling ability and tendency to skip past his marker with ease.
He will look to use that to help the Kings be efficient in the transitions and create big chances with his innovative passes into the final third. Robinho is also dangerous with his shooting ability and will look to rattle the opposition’s backline by launching devastating shots on goal.
Did you know?
- Mohun Bagan have scored the most goals (6) and conceded the fewest goals (1) in Group D so far.
- Bashundhara Kings picked up their first win over an ISL club in their victory over Odisha FC.
- Sahal Abdul Samad has two goal contributions in the AFC Cup so far for Mohun Bagan
The Mohun Bagan SG vs Bashundhara Kings game kicks off at 9:30 PM IST, at the Kalinga Stadium, Odisha on 24 October, 2023. Live telecast of the fixture will be available on Sports 18. Live streaming of the game will be available on the Fancode app.