There is much to anticipate this Saturday in the Indian Super League (ISL) as FC Goa go up against Mohun Bagan Super Giant in Kolkata. Not only does Mohun Bagan SG's head coach Juan Ferrando confront his former side, but the clash also pits the league’s most solid defence against this season’s most lethal attack. FC Goa have conceded the fewest goals this season, keeping an impressive six clean sheets. On the other hand, Mohun Bagan SG are yet to keep a clean sheet but have netted 18 goals, more than any other team in the league. This clash of extremes makes it an enticing fixture for supporters of both teams and neutrals alike.

As the Gaurs aim to strengthen their position at the top of the ISL standings, a wounded Mohun Bagan SG side stands in their way.

The Mariners succumbed to their first defeat of the season against Mumbai City FC in their previous game, halting their 13-game unbeaten run in the ISL, dating back to last season. However, they remain unbeaten at home this season in six games, and with the backing of their passionate supporters, the Mariners will be eyeing nothing less than a win.

Formidable defensive unit vs unstoppable attack

FC Goa has secured a clean sheet in each of their last five ISL games, the joint-longest such run in the ISL. Marquez’s side also haven’t conceded in their last 500 minutes in the league, the second-longest such run for any team in ISL history.
However, their record could be under threat given the way Mohun Bagan SG’s attack has been performing.

The Mariners have struck early and produced goals late into games as well. Eight of Mohun Bagan SG’s 18 goals have come before half-time. They have also managed to strike late, with four of their goals coming between the 76th and 90th minute.

Meanwhile, FC Goa has conceded just once after half-time, and it will be interesting to see if they can withstand the pressure once again in the second half.

Home advantage for the Mariners

Mohun Bagan SG has won five of their six games at home this season, with the other one ending in a draw. The Kolkata giants are yet to register a clean sheet while playing on home turf this season, but their attack has propelled them to victory.

In the two games where they took the lead at home, it ended in victory for Mohun Bagan SG. Meanwhile, last season’s ISL Cup winners have conceded first in Kolkata just once this season, in the game against Odisha FC, but managed to eke out a draw.

A firing forward line aided by Petratos’ return

Mohun Bagan’s forwards have been in scintillating form this season, accounting for 13 of the team’s 18 goals. Jason Cummings, Armando Sadiku, Dimitri Petratos, Manvir Singh, Liston Colaco, and Kiyan Nassiri have all found the net this season.

The trio of Cummings, Sadiku, and Petratos, in particular, have stood out, contributing a total of nine goals together, half of the team's total.

While the likes of Sadiku and Cummings stepped up in the absence of the injured Petratos in recent games, the Australian’s return from injury is a significant boost for the Mariners at this juncture of the season.

Petratos has featured off the bench in MBSG’s last two games, and despite not getting on the scoresheet since coming on, he has made a significant impact.

Besides getting into promising goal-scoring positions, Petratos’ accuracy in picking out teammates makes him an indispensable asset for Ferrando.

He has attempted 32 crosses this season, more than any other teammate. Mohun Bagan’s SG top scorer from last season also boasts an open-play crossing accuracy of 57.1%, the joint-highest of all players alongside Bengaluru FC’s Javi Hernandez in the ongoing ISL.

Even if Petratos doesn’t feature in the starting eleven, it could mean another start for Sadiku and Cummings up front, who have formed a good partnership upfront in recent games.

But regardless of whoever starts, FC Goa’s defensive unit will need to be on their toes. And it will certainly take a gutsy and massive effort to keep Mohun Bagan SG’s attack quiet.