The Mariners will play the AFC Cup 2021 inter-zone semi-final on September 22.

ATK Mohun Bagan will face a stiff challenge from Uzbekistan side FC Nasaf in the inter-zone semi-final of AFC Cup 2021. The Mariners left for Uzbekistan from Dubai on September 19 with a 22-member squad and will play the game on Wednesday. Antonio Habas’ side will be without playmaker Hugo Boumous, who is injured and the suspended midfielder Deepak Tangri for this clash. Ahead of the match, full-back Subhasish Bose spoke to the media and answered questions about the team’s preparations for this important match.

Here are some excerpts from that interaction with ATK Mohun Bagan full-back Subhasish Bose:

An understanding was built up with Sandesh last year. This time there is no Sandesh. FC Nasaf is a very strong team. How far is your defence ready against them in a short time without Sandesh?

Subhasish Bose: Our defence has played well enough in all three matches in the Maldives. Carl has adapted in a very short time. The last time in the ISL, we played with three defenders, sometimes with four defenders. That’s not a problem. Our coach has already given us a lesson on how to play against Nasaf. Only by organizing the defence will we jump for victory.

Wing play is one of the main factors in this match. Have you discussed this with the coach?

Subhasish Bose: In the last six days, we have practised a variety of wing play. The coach explained to us where Nasaf’s strengths and weaknesses are. The coach will decide how far we will go and how we will stop them. I do not want to say more than that.

The AFC Cup is not new to you. But you have never played in the semi-final. How optimistic are you about going to the final?

Subhasish Bose: It is my dream to be the AFC Cup champion. We are all determined to fulfil that dream. Our team is strong enough. With the arrival of Kauko, Soosai Raj and Prabir, our strength has increased. If we can win the Nasaf match, it will be difficult to stop us.

What do you think about the strengths and weaknesses of your team?

Subhasish Bose: Our strength is our team’s solidarity. Our team is stronger than last time. There is a successful coach like Habas. There are people like Roy Krishna, David, Manvir for scoring goals. We have the best footballers of the national team in midfield and defence. Our reserve bench is also quite strong.

And weakness? Why should I say that? The opponent has to find it out as we are searching for their weakness.

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