The Mariners started their continental campaign off with a win over Bengaluru FC on Wednesday.
ATK Mohun Bagan aim to continue their impressive performance in the AFC Cup and brush away Maldives-based outfit Maziya S&RC in their second game. The Mariners had a superb start to the competition, defeating fellow Indian Super League (ISL) side Bengaluru FC in a compelling fashion.
Head coach, Antonio Habas would want to ensure his side rides high on their momentum. In Maziya S&RC, the Mariners face a side they don’t regularly play against (unlikely BFC). Knowing how defensively stubborn they can be, ATK Mohun Bagan have to produce an even better performance than their previous game to go on top of Group D.
ATK Mohun Bagan
ATK Mohun Bagan took a positive step forward in their opening win over Bengaluru FC on Wednesday. That being said, the job is far from done. With only one team able to qualify from Group D, ATK Mohun Bagan have to continue outperforming Bangladeshi giants Bashundhara Kings in their third and final group stage game as well.
While Maziya might be comparatively a weaker side to the Mariners, there’s no place for complacency. Habas knows his side can take one step into the knockouts with a win on Saturday. If Bengaluru are able to snatch points from Basudhara Kings, a win can give a huge boost to the Mariners’ knockouts’ ambitions.
Habas must ensure his side does not slack off or take it easy against Maziya. He will be yearning for even more attacking desire to improve their goal difference and to keep another clean sheet. A loss, however, can smash their dreams of qualifying for the next rounds. The Spaniard will hope his players show character to ensure the former happens.
Maziya S&RC, on the other hand, will be fighting for survival. There will be a lot at stake for them in this one. While their hopes of winning the group was dampened by the opening game loss, all is not yet lost. As long as they are able to win their remaining games, they have an outside chance of prevailing to the next round.
As a result, Maziya could be even more motivated to take the fight to ATK Mohun Bagan. They will aim to use that pressure as motivation for a big performance. The Maldives-based outfit have the reputation of being a solid unit. If able to produce a perfect ‘team performance’ on Saturday, they could end up causing an upset.
Fortunately, the Mariners came out of the Bengaluru FC game unaffected by injury troubles. They have a fully fit squad. Even though Hugo Boumous was spotted holding his hamstring on occasions, he wasn’t subbed out because of injury. The ATKMB no.10 should be fit to start this one.
Maziya S&RC also did not suffer any injuries in their loss to Bashundhara Kings. They should have a fit unit for the big game.
ATK Mohun Bagan (3-4-1-2)
Amrinder(GK); Kotal, McHugh, Rathi; Manvir, Lenny, Tangri, Subhasish; Boumous; Williams, Krishna.
Maziya S&RC (4-3-3)
Mamatkhonov (GK), Abdulla, Irufaan, Pozo, Shifaz, Aisham, Takashi, Hussain, Hamzath, Hassan, Stewart
Man To Watch
Hugo Boumous (ATK Mohun Bagan)
The midfielder definitely had a debut to remember for ATKMB against Bengaluru FC. Although he didn’t get an ‘official’ assist, but pulled the strings with utmost confidence. Boumous looks like a man on a mission and determined to excel in the AFC Cup. He will aim to continue his good run against Maziya.
With Boumous’ clever, physical forward runs and eye for creating big chances, he will be expected to act as ATKMB’s special weapon on Saturday. The 25-year-old is hungry for goal contributions and as long as he can produce another lively display like the last game, Boumous should be involved in something special.
Cornelius Stewart (Maziya S&RC)
Maziya probably will not get a plethora of chances to score against ATK Mohun Bagan, but have to finish away the ones they receive. The Green Boys will definitely rely on their star forward Cornelius Stewart to produce the heroics. Stewart has a great record for Maziya, having scored 24 goals in 29 league appearances for them. The 31-year-old is a really sharp centre-forward who can create problems with his movement.
Facing an ATKMB defence that recently lost Sandesh Jhingan, Stewart will want to bully their defenders. He will look to sneak into key goal-scoring areas and win the necessary duels to destabilize the Mariners’ backline. Maziya will definitely hope Stewart is at his clinical best & finishes off their chances on Saturday.
The match will kick off on August 21, 2021, at 9:30 PM IST at the Maldives National Football Stadium. The match will be shown on the Star Sport Network and be available to watch on Hotstar and JioTV as well.