Bengaluru host ATK with an aim to lock down third spot
Defending champions Bengaluru FC welcome ATK FC to the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday for what will be both teams’ final match of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 league phase. While ATK FC are guaranteed to finish on the second spot irrespective of other results, Bengaluru need a win to ensure they finish third.
After finishing at the top of the table in their last two campaigns, the Blues failed to secure the summit this time around but nevertheless have already qualified for the semi-finals. Their defence has had a big part to play this season, with the team boasting the best defensive record in the league so far, letting in just 11 goals in their 17 matches so far.
In the offensive front, however, Bengaluru haven't been quite as clinical, having managed only 20 goals so far this season. In fact, their tally so far is the second-worst in the league so far, with only NorthEast United FC having scored lesser than them. The team has heavily depended on captain Sunil Chhetri for their goals with the ace striker accounting for nine goals nine goals in 15 games, roughly 45% of the team's entire goals tally. The 35-year-old had been nursing a niggle and it remains to be seen whether Cuadrat decides to risk his star man on Saturday, especially with the team already having qualified for the knock out phases. Additionally, with Albert Serran, Dimas Delgado, Erik Paartalu and Ashique Kuruniyan one yellow card away from a suspension, Cuadrat may opt not to field the quartet with the semis in mind.
Interestingly, if Bengaluru manage to finish third, they will face ATK in the semis and Saturday's match can be viewed as a dress rehearsal of sorts for both sides involved.
Having lost out on the top spot to FC Goa, ATK are all set to finish second and have nothing substantial riding on the Bengaluru match other than possibly getting a psychological leg up over a potential semi-final opponent. Given the scenario, it won't be surprising to see Antonio Lopez Habas rest a few of his key players in order to safeguard them for the knockout phases.
On the other hand, however, the two-time champions will be eager to put their loss to Chennaiyin FC in their last match behind them with a positive result to ensure they don't head into the semis on the back of consecutive losses.
Overall, ATK have had a solid season on both ends of the pitch. They possess the second-best defensive record in the division, only behind Bengaluru. On the offensive front, only table toppers FC Goa have scored more than their tally of 31 goals so far.
Bengaluru FC: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill (GK), Gursimrat Singh Gill, Juanan, Rahul Bheke, Parag Srivas, Harmanjot Khabra, Francisco Borges, Suresh Wangjam, Udanta Singh, Deshorn Brown, Kevaughn Frater
ATK FC: Arindam Bhattacharja (GK), Pritam Kotal, Victor Mongil, Sumit Rathi, Prabir Das, Michael Soosairaj, Edu Garcia, Armando Sosa Pena, David Williams, Jayesh Rane, Roy Krishna
Did you know:
- Bengaluru have conceded only 4 goals at home. (lowest in league)
- ATK have conceded only 6 goals in away matches. (lowest in league)
- Eight of Bengaluru’s 20 goals this season have come from corners.
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 88: Bengaluru FC vs ATK FC
Date: February 22 (Saturday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV