A tale of contrasting magnitude in scoring from open play and conceding from similar situations is one of the main highlights when ATK Mohun Bagan take on NorthEast United FC in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match at the PJN Stadium, on Saturday. It could well decide the fate of the game, with the odds heavily stacked against one team.

The Mariners have an edge in the basic parameter, with 3-1 record in their favour in head-to-head matches. However, the Highlanders would be wary of a different specification in the build-up to the stiff challenge - open play goals, an area which has hurt them most.

ATK Mohun Bagan have scored the joint highest number of goals from open play this season - 20, while no other team has scored more percentage of goals from such occasions - 76.92%. On the other end of the spectrum, NorthEast United FC have conceded the most number of goals from set-pieces - 25, which is also the highest percentage of goals let in by any team this season - 71.43%.

Dissecting further, Juan Ferrando’s men have been phenomenal in scoring from through balls, having converted seven times this season from such situations, the highest for any team this season. Meanwhile, Khalid Jamil’s men have shipped in the most number of goals via through balls - eight. The stats are conclusive of what we might expect from the upcoming game.

Going by the recent exploits, ATK Mohun Bagan have scored nine out of their last 10 goals from open play, while NorthEast United FC have conceded six out of their last seven goals from the same. The Guwahati-based team needs to cut off the free-flowing play of their opponents to squeeze something fruitful from the encounter. Central defenders Patrick Flottmann and Mashoor Shereef will hvae to be on their toes for the entire 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, experienced Hernan Santana’s presence in the middle can be a real game changer for the Highlanders, especially in curtailing the supply of balls to the final third. For the record, the Spaniard has made 37 interceptions this season from 14 matches, the most by a NorthEast United FC player. It goes along with 58 tackles in the same time frame, the third most for his contingent.

It will be a clash between ATK Mohun Bagan’s organised play and NorthEast United FC’s resistance.