Talking Point: ATK Mohun Bagan’s clash with FC Goa to be a battle of football philosophies

ATK Mohun Bagan will be eager to return to winning ways in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they face FC Goa at the Fatorda on Wednesday.  Antonio Lopez Habas’ men are winless in their last two games and the Mariners will be keen to claim maximum points when they take on the Gaurs. Goa, meanwhile, will head into the contest on the back of successive wins and they will back themselves to get the better of ATK Mohun Bagan. Here’s a closer look at some of the factors that could have a huge bearing on the outcome.

ATK Mohun Bagan’s counterattack against Goa’s possession-football

Wednesday’s clash between the teams will be one of contrasting styles. ATK Mohun Bagan love to play a counterattacking style of football, while Goa love being in possession of the ball. Their contrasting styles are reflected in the fact that Goa average 59% possession and 510 passes per game, whereas the Mariners average 46% possession and 307 passes per game. ATK Mohun Bagan’s best performances this season came when they played against Kerala Blasters FC and SC East Bengal. Interestingly, both the teams dominated possession against Habas’ men. ATK Mohun Bagan weren’t as effective against the other teams when they had to take more initiative with the ball. However, Goa’s style of play will suit the Kolkata giants perfectly and it will be interesting to see which side makes the most of their strength.

Jorge Mendoza, Goa’s unsung hero

While Igor Angulo may have taken all the plaudits and deservedly so, Jorge Mendoza’s performances for Goa so far cannot be undermined. He was the Hero of the Match against Odisha FC last time around in what was a tireless display in which Mendoza did everything but score. Only the brilliance of Odisha’s goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh in goal denied the Spaniard, who hit the target with five of his seven attempts, from scoring. Mendoza has impressed throughout the season and has been Goa’s biggest threat after Angulo. A tricky player, he’s completed 11 take-ons – the second most by a player this campaign – and has attempted the most shots (22). Mendoza has also completed the most passes (166) in the final third and has the most touches (28) by a player in the opposition box.

ATK Mohun Bagan’s defence will be difficult to breach

Even though Goa are an attacking side with plenty of gamechangers in the team, scoring against ATK Mohun Bagan’s solid defence will not be easy. The Kolkata club began the season with three successive clean sheets and are yet to concede a goal from open play. The last two games have seen them concede from set-piece situations and it will be intriguing to see if Juan Ferrando’s men look to exploit them in such situations. That said, committing too many men forward for set-pieces may prove to be a double-edged sword for Goa considering how it could benefit ATK Mohun Bagan’s strengths of countering-attacking football.

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