Talking Point: Who will come out on top in the clash of the counter-attacking sides?

ATK Mohun Bagan and NorthEast United FC will be eager for a win when they square off at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday. Both sides were involved in draws in their last Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 outings and they will be keen to begin the new year with a win. With plenty of talent on both sides, Sunday’s clash promises to be a mouth-watering contest and here we take a look at some of the factors that could dictate the outcome of the contest.

Battle between two counter-attacking sides

It will be interesting to see how the teams play considering both like to absorb pressure and hit opponents on the counter-attack. ATK Mohun Bagan have shown how devastating they can be on the break and have made it a habit of eschewing possession and hitting teams on the counter. It remains to be seen if they deploy similar tactics of having less of the ball against NorthEast – a side that have a familiar style of play as the Mariners. While NorthEast did enjoy plenty of success earlier in the season by hitting teams on the counter, their last four games weren’t as fruitful. The side which is more efficient on the break and final third is likely to emerge triumphant when the two teams meet.

Overreliance on Roy Krishna

The importance of Roy Krishna to ATK Mohun Bagan’s attack cannot be overstated. In the matches that he has scored, the team has won more often than not. Out of the three matches in which Krishna has failed to score this season, two have ended in draws. The Fijian though will be eager to find the back of the net against NorthEast, especially considering that he hasn’t scored in his last two outings. If he does fire against the Highlanders chances are that ATK Mohun Bagan will take maximum points from the game, which makes him the Mariners’ biggest threat.

NorthEast’s forwards need to step up

NorthEast’s attacking players like Idrissa Sylla and Luis Machado will know that they must do better. They must finish their chances when they present themselves or they risk being punished for not being clinical in front of goal. They had a plethora of chances in their previous game and could have easily scored a lot more than they did. Sylla and Machado need to shoulder the goal-scoring burden for NorthEast and they have to quickly up their game as the second half of the season fast approaches.

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