The Mariners have lost both of their last two matches in the league.

ATK Mohun Bagan have experienced a perfect start to the Indian Super League (ISL) season derailed with back-to-back losses in recent games. They aim to stop that rot with a win over an undefeated Chennaiyin FC, one of the most stubborn teams in the league this season.

The Mariners have the quality to defeat any team in the league. However, they are lacking the consistency to execute their abilities perfectly. Antonio Habas will hope to fix ATK Mohun Bagan’s defensive issues and motivate his players to rediscover their ultimate potential to shove aside Chennaiyin FC and get back into the race for the league title.

The Stakes

ATK Mohun Bagan are treading on dangerous waters at the moment. Another loss and talks of a crisis wouldn’t be far-fetched. For one of the most expensive and star-studded sides in the ISL, this shouldn’t be happening so early in the season.

A lot is riding on this game. Habas’ side could fall too behind in the race for the first position if they drop points again. The Mariners have to treat this one as an ISL final itself. The leaders of the team have to step up and motivate their teammates to maintain a compact shape as well as be decisive in the attack to hurt this sturdy Chennaiyin side.

Chennaiyin FC has bounced back strongly under Bozidar Bandovic this season. They haven’t played the most eye-catching games, but have shown impressive character to seal the results from impressive performances of their Indian starlets, with Anirudh Thapa leading by example.

Bandovic’s side have the best defensive record in the ISL, only conceding one goal in three appearances. They’ve become a hard nut to crack under Bandovic.

Knowing ATKMB’s goal-scoring problems, they’ll aim to frustrate the Mariners with solid defending and hit them on counter-attacks. While even a draw could be valuable, a win can help Chennaiyin properly signify their comeback this season and title-winning ambitions.

Team News

Tiri is back in ATK Mohun Bagan training. He could make his much-anticipated return for the Mariners in this one. Deepak Tangri should be back after serving his one-match suspension.

Rafael Crivellaro is the big absentee for Chennaiyin FC, as he’s ruled out with a muscle injury. Rahim Ali is also going to miss this game as he’s suspended.

Head-to-Head

ATK Mohun Bagan have faced Chennaiyin FC twice in the ISL so far, winning one encounter and playing out a draw in the other.

However, the erstwhile ATK had faced the Marina Machans on 15 occasions in the ISL. The Kolkata giants won seven of those games, with Chennaiyin FC winning four.

Probable Lineups

ATK Mohun Bagan (3-5-2): Amrinder Singh (GK); Pritam Kotal, Carl McHugh, Subashish Bose; Manvir Singh, Lenny Rodrigues, Deepak Tangri, Joni Kauko, Liston Colaco; Hugo Boumous, Roy Krishna.

Chennaiyin FC (4-2-3-1): Vishal Kaith (HK); Reagan Singh, Slavko Damjanovic, Narayan Das, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Ariel Borysiuk, Anirudh Thapa; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vladmir Koman, Mirlan Murzaev; Jobby Justin.

Man To Watch

Roy Krishna (ATK Mohun Bagan)

Roy Krishna
Krishna needs to start firing again for ATKMB to bounce back (Courtesy: ISL Media)

To get out of this slump, the Mariners need their biggest players to start firing again. That means captain Roy Krishna has to rediscover himself and become the goal machine that he was last season. Krishna has scored just two goals in four appearances this season, not starting as sharply as he did last time around.

The Fijian striker has to rediscover his ruthless finishing skills to convert chances in front of the goal. He also must lead from the front, setting up chances for teammates with clever link-up play and tormenting defenders with his off-the-ball movement. If Krishna can rediscover his groove on Saturday, the Chennaiyin FC backline have to pull off something special to keep him quiet.

Lallianzuala Chhangte (Chennaiyin FC)

Lallianzuala Chhangte
Chhangte has one of the key players for Chennaiyin FC (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Lallianzuala Chhangte proved just how deadly he can be with an amazing goal against NorthEast United a few weeks ago. The 24-year-old seems to be thriving under Bandovic’s system, which gives him plenty of freedom to trouble defenders. ATK Mohun Bagan have looked quite shaky down the left side this season, with Liston Colaco struggling defensively and Subashish Bose also having trouble to deal with pace.

If Chhangte can be direct with his tormenting forward runs, he can really make things difficult for the Mariners backline. The 24-year-old needs to keep his cool in the final third and take his chances clinically to help win another game for Chennaiyin FC.

Did You Know?

  • Roy Krishna has scored 19 goals from open play since the 2019/20 season, the most by any player in the ISL during this period.
  • Pritam Kotal has made 10 interceptions in four appearances this season, the most managed by any defender in the ISL.
  • Vishal Kaith is leading the Golden Glove rankings in the ISL, having kept two clean sheets in three matches so far.

Telecast

The game will take place on Saturday, December 11 at the Fatorda Stadium, Goa with a 7:30 PM IST kick-off. It will be shown live on the Star Sports network and be available for streaming on Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.

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