Talking Point: Can Hyderabad FC upset ATK Mohun Bagan’s applecart?
ATK Mohun Bagan will be aiming to beat Hyderabad FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Monday and finish on top of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) standings. The Mariners are currently on a five-match winning streak and will be confident heading into the contest against a Hyderabad side that will be looking to secure points themselves in their bid for a place in the top-four. Here, we have a look at some of the decisive factors ahead of a pivotal clash for both teams as far as their aspirations for the season go.
ATK Mohun Bagan to create history?
The in-form team in the Hero ISL at the moment, table-toppers ATK Mohun Bagan have won each of their last five encounters and have scored 13 goals during that time. They beat arch-rivals SC East Bengal in their last outing and will be gunning for a win that would cement top spot in the standings for them. If they manage to beat Hyderabad on Monday, the Mariners will equal Bengaluru FC’s six-match winning streak in Hero ISL 2018-19. A win for ATK Mohun Bagan would take them to 42 points and see them clinch the League Winner Shield since second-placed Mumbai City FC can claim a maximum of 40 points if they win their remaining two games.
Hyderabad’s defence won’t be easy to break down
Even though ATK Mohun Bagan will take confidence into the clash, they will be aware of how difficult it is to breach Hyderabad FC’s defence. They have the joint second-best defence in the league having conceded 17 times and have got meaner at the back, especially over the past month. Since January 21, they boast the best defence in the league and have conceded just thrice in six games. They have also faced the least number of shots (45) and have conceded the fewest efforts on target (13) as well during this period. Hyderabad though will have their task cut out against a buoyant ATK Mohun Bagan attack and will need to be on top of their game if they want something from the encounter like the 1-1 draw between the teams earlier this season.
Fran Sandaza has added a new dimension to Hyderabad’s attack
After struggling for fitness in the first half of the season, Spanish frontman Fran Sandaza seems to be peaking at the right time of the campaign for Hyderabad. He netted a brace in his side’s last outing and has shown what he’s capable of in Hyderabad’s last five games. As he nears full-match fitness, Sandaza has notched four goals and an assist from 225 minutes in his last five matches. For players who have scored more than one goal this season, only Ishan Pandita (12.75) has a better minutes per goal ratio than Sandaza (69). His contribution has also eased the burden of expectation from the likes of Aridane Santana and Joel Chianese up front.