Talking Tactics: Key battles to watch out for in ATK Mohun Bagan vs Hyderabad FC semi-final, second leg
Hyderabad FC have the upper hand after a clinical 3-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan in the first leg of semi-final 2 in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season. The teams are set to cross paths once again at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Wednesday.
Bartholomew Obeche’s brilliance, along with strikes from Yasir Mohammad and Javier Siverio were all responsible for the positive result. However, the outcome did not appear out of thin air, as they toiled till the last moment to maintain a two-goal lead going into the second leg.
We have witnessed a few contests in the previous game which heavily influenced the final result. As usual, we are expecting a few more in the upcoming game as well.
Here are the key battles to keep a watch on during the second leg match between Hyderabad FC and ATK Mohun Bagan:
Sandesh Jhingan vs Juanan
Up against two of the most attack-minded teams, there’s every reason to believe that the defenders will have a busy evening ahead. Two of the most experienced stoppers in the history of the Hero ISL - Sandesh Jhingan and Juanan, will guard the castle for their respective sides.
Facing the heat against the team with the most goals (46 goals) in the season is not a cakewalk, but Jhingan is not new to such situations. He has been a rock at the back for the Mariners, with 23 tackles, 12 interceptions, 31 clearances and 12 blocks ornamenting his stats tally. With players like Ogbeche and Javier Siverio to content with, the Indian centre-back will have his work cut out.
Juanan, a former Hero ISL winner with Bengaluru FC, has the task of keeping the likes of Roy Krishna, Liston Colaco, David Williams and Manvir Singh quiet as both the teams aim for a shot at the title on March 20. The central defender has made 27 tackles, 22 interceptions, 63 clearances and 25 blocks this season, along with three assists.
Roy Krishna vs Bartholomew Ogbeche
If goals are anything to go by, ATK Mohun Bagan’s Roy Krishna and Hyderabad FC’s Bartholomew Ogbeche have mastered the art in the category. With both teams needing goals to cement further progress, the duo will play a key role for either side.
It's not been the typical Krishna season, but still getting past the goalkeeper a total of six times, along with four assists is not ordinary by any standards. Krishna’s knack of scoring crucial goals is evident from the strike against Hyderabad FC in the first leg. With his team in dire need of quick goals, there’s no better player to bail the team out of the current situation.
Ogbeche is a seasoned goal machine, having already struck 18 in as many games along with an assist in the Hero ISL 2021-22. Leading the fightback against ATK Mohun Bagan in the first leg, he would leave no stones unturned to see off the job and steer Hyderabad FC to their first ever final appearance.
Hugo Boumous vs Joao Victor
The playmaking department will play a key role in the crucial game. Hugo Boumous, arguably the biggest signing ahead of the season, has had a hot and cold campaign so far. On the other hand, Joao Victor has proved to be a monumental figure in his position.
Boumous has scored five times and assisted a similar number of times this season, which is impressive, but he’s capable of much more. With the experience he possesses, the Moroccan will be eager to play a game- changing role and haunt Hyderabad FC’s defence throughout the game.
Victor, who often drops back and binds the midfield together, will be up for a toe-to-toe contest against Boumous. The Brazilian midfielder has made 57 tackles, 32 interceptions, 39 clearances and 28 blocks for Hyderabad FC this season. The tussle to gain possession of the ball in the middle of the park will draw a lot of attention on Tuesday evening.