AFC Cup: Maziya S&RC test awaits as ATK Mohun Bagan eye a spot in the next round
Hero Indian Super League (ISL) outfit ATK Mohun Bagan will look to qualify for the next stage of the AFC Cup when they face Maldives’ Maziya Sports and Recreation Club in their third and final Group D match of AFC Cup 2022 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.
The final day of the AFC Cup Group stage is going to hit a zenith of excitement, as all the four teams from the Group D - ATK Mohun Bagan, Bashundhara Kings, Gokulam Kerala FC and Maziya SR hold equal chances of qualification with all the teams winning a match each while losing one. However, ATK Mohun Bagan is ahead currently with an advantage in the goal difference.
ATK Mohun Bagan
ATK Mohun Bagan started the tournament in the worst possible way after losing to fellow Indian side, Gokulam Kerala but got their campaign back on track by thrashing Bashundhara Kings 4-0 in their second game.
Juan Ferrando will be hoping for one last push by his side as they know that nothing other than a win might be enough for them if they are to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the inter-zone playoff semi-finals as only one team from Group D will make it to the next round.
On the other hand, Maziya beat Gokulam Kerala FC 1-0 to secure their first win in AFC Cup 2022 on Saturday. Vincentian footballer Cornelius Stewart scored the solitary goal of the match in the 50th minute to help Maziya claim three valuable points.
Earlier, Maziya started their AFC Cup 2022 campaign with a 0-1 loss to Bashundhara Kings.
The only meeting between these two clubs was in the AFC Cup 2021 group stage, with the match ending in favour of ATKMB who won 3-1 in that match.
ATK Mohun Bagan
Liston Calaco: Liston Colaco was the focal point of every single Mariners’ attack against Bashundhara Kings. He now has four goals from two games and the 23-year-old seems in blistering form. A livewire down the left flank, he is quickly becoming one of the most lethal attackers in Indian football. Colaco will relish taking on a Maziya side that faced very little threat against Gokulam.
Roy Krishna: Arguably the most lethal striker in the Indian circuit for the past three seasons, Roy Krishna is yet to get back his rhythm after a break. But, given the big match player he is, the ATK Mohun Bagan faithful will be hoping that he delivers in the upcoming match. For the record, Krishna scored against Maziya in ATK Mohun Bagan’s last AFC Cup match against the Maldives outfit.
Cornelius Stewart: Stewart has led Maziya’s attack for a good few seasons now. An extremely versatile forward, the Vincentian can operate in any role in attack. Miodrag Jesic has built his team around Stewart and his teammates will look to feed him dangerous passes. The all-Indian defence of ATKMB will have to cut the channels in order to stop Stewart, who can be a very tricky customer on his day.
Mohamed Irufaan: Mohamed Irufaan played for Maldivian team Club Valencia at the youth level before breaking into the first team. He joined Maziya in 2014 and has since won all major domestic laurels with the side. The 27-year-old has also played in the AFC Cup for Maziya, making five appearances in the group stage across 2016, 2017, 2020 and 2021 also registered one goal to his name. His experience and knowledge of playing in top competitions make him a formidable threat in this group.
Fixture: ATK Mohun Bagan vs Maziya S&RC
Date: May 24, 2022
Time: 8:30 PM (IST)
Venue: Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
Telecast: Star Sports Network