AFC Cup 2022: ATK Mohun Bagan open group stage campaign against Gokulam Kerala in an all-Indian clash
ATK Mohun Bagan will face stiff competition when they take on Gokulam Kerala FC in their AFC Cup 2022 group stage match at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The Mariners qualified for the continental meet after finishing second in the league stage of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21, in a season where Mumbai City FC claimed both the League Winners’ Shield and the Hero ISL trophy.
The Juan Ferrando-coached side has been pitted in Group D, alongside Gokulam Kerala FC (India), Bashundhara Kings (Bangladesh) and Maziya R&SC (Maldives). This is ATK Mohun Bagan’s second consecutive appearance in the AFC Cup, having been eliminated in the inter-zone play-off semi-finals by FC Nasaf (Uzbekistan) last time.
ATK Mohun Bagan - LLWWW
The Kolkata giants have won three of their last five competitive matches, while losing the other two, which includes the semi-finals of the Hero ISL 2021-22 and the qualification rounds of the AFC Cup 2022. Moreover, to their credit, the Mariners recently defeated the Indian national football team in a closed-doors friendly match 2-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Gokulam Kerala FC - DWWLW
Gokulam Kerala FC have won their last three matches, lost one and shared the spoils in the remaining one. Four of the above-mentioned matches were in the 2021-22 I-League play-offs, including a 2-1 win over Mohammedan Sporting Club at the Salt Lake Stadium, that helped them clinch the championship.
This will be the first meeting between ATK Mohun Bagan and Gokulam Kerala FC.
Hugo Boumous (ATK Mohun Bagan) vs Sharif Mukhammad (Gokulam Kerala FC)
Boumous registered five goals and equal number of assists and helped the Mariners reach the semi-finals that season. In the AFC Cup 2022 qualifying rounds, he was even better, tormenting the defence with his skills to pave the way for back-to-back wins. Boumous will pose a huge threat to Gokulam Kerala FC.
Holding the cards for Gokulam Kerala FC in the midfield, Afghan footballer Sharif Mukhammad will be responsible for negating the Hugo Boumous factor and eliminating all possible moves that might lead to a goal opening. Even though he is not a regular defensive midfielder, he might have to wear the hat to some extent in the upcoming game.
Liston Colaco (ATK Mohun Bagan) vs Jourdaine Fletcher (Gokulam Kerala FC)
The most influential Indian player in the Hero ISL 2021-22, Liston Colaco struck eight times and assisted on four occasions to guide ATK Mohun Bagan to the semi-finals. Speed, agility, shooting prowess - the footballer is gifted with all in an optimum proportion. However, he is yet to score in the ongoing AFC Cup 2022 campaign and would be itching to tweak the record books when he takes the field in front of an energetic crowd on Wednesday.
On the flip side, Jourdaine Fletcher will shoulder the burden of scoring the goals against the Hero ISL outfit. The Jamaican was the fourth highest scorer in the I-League 2021-22, with nine strikes. Fortunately for the Malabarians, Fletcher has found his scoring boots towards the end of the season, as he netted four times and assisted once in the championship stage of the I-League and would be aiming to recreate the same in the continental event as well.
Fixture: ATK Mohun Bagan vs Gokulam Kerala FC
Date: May 18, 2022
Time: 4:30 PM (IST)
Venue: Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
Telecast: Star Sports Network