The reverse fixture between these two sides ended in a 3-3 draw.
Two wounded tigers will have no dearth of motivation with the semi-final race reaching its final phase, when arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC face-off in a rescheduled Indian Super League clash at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Sunday.
ATK Mohun Bagan
ATK Mohun Bagan were halted in their tracks with two successive draws at a time when they were fighting for the League Shield, which now seems a distant dream. The Mariners have 31 points from 17 matches, four less than league leaders Hyderabad who have secured a semifinal spot, and three adrift of second-placed Jamshedpur FC who also have one foot in the knockout stages.
The green and maroons dropped points against Kerala Blasters and Odisha FC, losing their grip over the League Shield race but are very much in the fray for a semi spot with three games in hand.
Plenty of chances but no finished product
For Bengaluru FC, the odds are heavily stacked against them. The Blues are placed sixth in the table with 26 points from 18 matches. They not only have to win their last two fixtures in the league stage but also hope other results go in their favour to keep their slim semi hopes alive.
“ATKMB are one of the best teams in the League. They have high-quality players, but we need to focus on ourselves. It’s an important game, these 90 minutes. We beat Odisha, and Odisha drew with them so that shows how strong we are,” said Bengaluru head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli.
On player availability, he said: “Jayesh and Rohit are back in training and we also have Iman, Damait, along with some other offensive players who can play in the number 10 position. The players who step into Danish’s position can do a good job and I am sure of it.
“Losing players is not only difficult, but it’s also interesting for a coach because we have players stepping in and they bring different things to the pitch. We can have a second striker coming in and deputizing for a midfielder.”
Roshan Singh has had a breakthrough season, the young full-back providing the joint-most assists by an Indian in a single season. “Roshan has come out of our system, and it’s not the end of the line. We have many more youngsters coming through and they can be really good additions to the season,” Pezzaiuoli opined.
ATK Mohun Bagan will be without striker Roy Krishna, who is suspended after picking up a red card against Odisha FC. David Williams is also a doubt as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
Danish Farooq is suspended for this game after picking up his seventh yellow card of the season against Odisha FC. Otherwise, it’s the same as before with Jayesh Rane, Rohit Kumar still unavailable.
ATK Mohun Bagan have faced Bengaluru FC thrice in the Indian Super League. The Mariners have emerged victorious twice while the other fixture ended in a draw.
ATK Mohun Bagan: Amrinder Singh (GK); Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri, Subhashish Bose; Carl McHugh, Lenny Rodrigues, Joni Kauko; Liston Colaco, Hugo Boumous, Manvir Singh.
Bengaluru FC: Lara Sharma (GK); Namgyal Bhutia, Alan Costa, Yaya Banana, Naorem Roshan Singh; Ajay Chhetri, Bruno Ramires; Leon Augustine, Udanta Singh; Sunil Chhetri, Cleiton Silva.
Did you know?
- Bengaluru FC are yet to win a game against ATK Mohun Bagan in their history, losing two and drawing one of their last three ISL meetings.
- Amrinder Singh (47) has made the joint-most saves among any goalkeeper in the ISL this season.
- Alan Costa (822) has completed more passes than any other defender so far in this edition of the ISL.
The match between ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC will take place at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, Goa, from 7:30 pm on 27th February. Star Sports Network will live telecast the game, while Disney+Hotstar and JioTV hold the live streaming rights.
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