The Gaurs are riding on momentum while the Mariners seek to get back to winning ways,
FC Goa aim to maintain their impressive run of form when they face a vulnerable ATK Mohun Bagan side at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday. While the Gaurs head into the game on the back of a dominant 3-0 win over Jamshedpur FC, they face a Mariners side who endured the bitter taste of defeat against Mumbai City FC in the last game.
But, playing only a few days later after their recent clash, it’ll be a big test of will for Goa to continue their winning run against arguably the best defensive side in the league. ATKMB will be hungry to get back to winning ways themselves and get another win over the Gaurs to restart their journey back to the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) table.
FC Goa know that in order to challenge for the top spot after the league stages, they need to be nearly flawless in the second half of the season. They kicked things off in emphatic fashion with the 3-0 thrashing of Jamshedpur, but need to maintain that intensity and ruthlessness in the games ahead.
Juan Ferrando seems to be slowly perfecting the rotational policy at the club and making good use of his strong squad. Of course, he can’t bench many against a sturdy team like ATKMB, but he’ll want his side to maintain the same brand of entertaining, free-flowing football and prove their true might by blowing away the best defence in the league.
For ATKMB, it’ll feel like back to square one after the loss to Mumbai City. Despite their troubles, that loss isn’t really the end of the world for the Mariners. As long as they can rediscover their winning momentum, that will feel like a distant bad dream. However, their mental fortitude will be tested on Sunday.
The Mariners must be more disciplined and well-drilled defensively to frustrate the opposition. More importantly, they must be braver in their attacking style and try out different things rather than sticking with their predictable pattern. More than anything else, they need to be clinical, as ATKMB know that a win is quintessential to send a warning to the rest of the league that they’re still among the very best around.
Igor Angulo should be back into the starting XI for FC Goa for this game after starting the Jamshedpur FC clash from the bench. The Gaurs fortunately have no injury issues, but Juan Ferrando should keep rotating his side.
Arindam Bhattacharya picked up a nasty eye injury at the end of ATKMB’s loss to Mumbai City, but should be fine for the game. Pronay Halder is suspended for the game after picking up four yellow cards for the season. Carl McHugh could also return in time for this game after missing the Mumbai City clash.
Head to Head
These two teams have only met once in the ISL, when ATK Mohun Bagan were able to defeat Goa 1-0 in their game earlier this season. Prior to the ongoing season, the erstwhile ATK faced FC Goa 14 times, winning five matches and losing thrice, with the remaining ones being stalemates.
FC Goa: Kumar, Seriton, Gonzalez, Donachie, Gama, Lenny, Bedia, Jesuraj, Brandon, Ortiz, Angulo.
ATK Mohun Bagan: Arindam, Prabir, Kotal, Jhingan, Tiri, Bose, McHugh, Javi, Rane, Williams, Krishna.
Man to Watch
Jorge Ortiz (FC Goa)
Jorge Ortiz was able to blow away the Jamshedpur FC defence with his clinical work while filling in for Igor Angulo in the striker role. While he is unlikely to retain that place if Angulo comes in against ATKMB, the Spaniard is versatile enough to cause chaos from other areas.
Ortiz will look to make good use of his pace and clever movement to destabilize the ATKMB defence. He’ll also take regular swipes at goal to test Arindam and try to create for Angulo & Co. All in all, the livewire will aim to be a thorn in the side of the Mariners and play another influential role in scripting a win.
Javi Hernandez (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Javi Hernandez hasn’t really hit his stride this season in the ISL yet, with injuries hampering his progression with ATK Mohun Bagan. However, he’s at least back to his fittest right now and has that added quality which his side need to win big games.
With his impressive ability to send teammates through on goal, tendency to whip in perfect set-pieces and intelligence in the final third, Hernandez could be the perfect counter for the FC Goa side. He is smart enough to beat their press and instinctive enough to catch defenders off guard in order to create chances for his team.
Did You Know?
- Alberto Noguera has the highest tackle success rate (88.9%) for a player with a minimum of 15 tackles attempted in the ISL, having won 16 of his 18 attempted tackles.
- Six of ATK Mohun Bagan’s goals this season have come from set-pieces.
- Edu Bedia (853) has made the most number of successful passes for any player in the ISL this season.
The match between FC Goa and ATK Mohun Bagan is set to be telecast live on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & HD (English), Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3 and several other regional languages. Live streaming of the match will be available on Hotstar and Jio TV.