ATK Mohun Bagan and Hyderabad FC start equals in the last mile to the final
A place in the final of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season, hangs in the balance as ATK Mohun Bagan host Hyderabad FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in the second leg of the semi-final on Monday. It will be all to play for in the second leg as the first leg encounter between the two defensively astute sides ended in a goalless draw.
The Mariners have kept a clean sheet in their last three games and possess the joint-best home record this season after winning eight out of 11 games. Attacks from the front three of Liston Colaco, Dimitri Petratos, and Manvir Singh were neutralised by the staunch Hyderabad FC defence in the first leg.
Vishal Kaith kept his 11th clean sheet of the season and produced a superb save in Hyderabad to deny the hosts an advantage for the second leg. The defensive duo of Slavko Damjanovic and Pritam Kotal was solid at the back.
“Our mentality for this game is to play like it is a final and play to win because we want to reach the playoff final. In the first leg, Hyderabad had more rest compared to us, but now, we will be the same situation,” said Ferrando.
“The tactical and technical details will be important, but most of all, controlling the game will be a vital part of the match”, he added.
While the Mariners have a stellar record at home, Hyderabad FC have the second-best away record this season. The defending champions have lost just two out of ten games on the road and have kept clean sheets in three out of their last four games in the Hero ISL.
Joel Chianese created a couple of chances and had a crack at goal twice but could not find the back of the net. Hyderabad FC looked threatening down the right flank as Nikhil Poojary linked up well with Mohammad Yasir in attack while being solid at the back. Yasir cut infield several times to have a go at goal and struck the post with one of his efforts.
Gurmeet Singh produced seven saves in the first leg and earned his sixth clean sheet of the season. The defensive duo of Sahil Tavora and Borja Herrera was robust in midfield, with both players recovering several balls with crunching tackles. Bartholomew Ogbeche could return to the starting lineup in the second leg after Javier Siverio had a quiet game in Hyderabad.
“The mood in the camp is good. They have a very strong squad and we managed to control their players really well. Tactically, we were very good in the first leg,” said Marquez. “They are more comfortable at home, but we are a very good team whether we play home or away because we don’t make a lot of changes,” he added
This will be the fourth encounter between the two sides this season. Both have won one game each and the only draw between them came in the first leg last Thursday. In the semi-final last season, Hyderabad FC progressed to the final with 3-2 aggregate win over the Mariners, although ATKMB had won the second leg at home.