Talking Point: Can ATK Mohun Bagan avenge defeat against Mumbai City FC?

The final match of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21’s league stage will see Mumbai City FC take on ATK Mohun Bagan at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Sunday. Only a win will secure the top spot for the Islanders and they will fancy their chances having beaten ATK Mohun Bagan in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. As far as the Mariners are concerned, even a draw will do the job for them. With a place in the AFC Champions League group stage at stake for both sides, ahead of the match we look at some of the important factors that could have a big impact on the outcome.

Battle of the in-form strikers

Leader in the Golden Boot contenders list, Roy Krishna has 14 goals in 19 matches this season and he has been integral to ATK Mohun Bagan’s fight for the top spot. He has eight goals in their last seven matches, as well as four assists, the most by a Mariners player. His rival on the night, Mumbai City FC’s Adam le Fondre has scored 11 goals, and is currently joint third in the Golden Boot standings. The English striker is also ably supported by Bartholomew Ogbeche who has scored seven goals himself. Two of these came in their last match against Odisha FC, and the Nigerian forward also scored in their 1-0 win in the reverse fixture against the Mariners.

Eyes on Bipin and Manvir too

Bipin Singh became the first player to score a hat-trick this season in Mumbai City FC’s 6-1 win over Odisha FC. His treble took his tally for the season to five goals, and among Indian players only Sunil Chhetri (8) has scored more than him this season. His four assists are also the second highest among Indian players this season. ATK Mohun Bagan’s Manvir Singh also has five goals in Hero ISL 2020-21 after scoring once in their 2-2 draw against Hyderabad FC in their last game. Manvir has eight of 11 goal contributions by Indians for ATK Mohun Bagan this season. Both players will have a huge role to play for their respective teams.

Motivation is high for both teams

The winners of the Hero ISL league stage will qualify for the AFC Champions League group stage and this will motivate players from either camp to fight tooth and nail for the top spot. A draw will be enough for the Mariners to seal the top spot but playing against a team who has beaten them in the reverse fixture back in January, they will need to be careful and should not get any ideas even though Mumbai City FC have witnessed a terrible dip in form of late -- prior to their game against Odisha FC. Meanwhile, Mumbai City FC may have scored six against Odisha FC but they will do well to remember that they have not kept a clean sheet in their last seven matches and against a team that has improved recently in the attacking third, they too have to up their defensive game.

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