Match 78 Preview: ATK Mohun Bagan look to bounce back with a win against Kerala Blasters

ATK Mohun Bagan’s second clash with Kerala Blasters FC in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday promises to be another riveting encounter. The two sides were involved in the opening fixture of the season, which ATK Mohun Bagan edged Kerala Blasters courtesy a goal by Roy Krishna.

The Mariners haven’t enjoyed their best run of form of late and have just one win in their last four matches. They lost their last outing against NorthEast United FC and will be eager to get back to winning ways when they face Kerala. Goal-scoring has been an issue for the Kolkata giants with just 13 goals in as many games to show for their efforts so far.

Only Roy Krishna, Edu Garcia, David Williams and Manvir Singh have got on the scoresheet for them this season. They need others to step up in front of goal for them soon and will hope that the recent addition of Marcelo Pereira on loan to their squad can help in that regard. Defensively, ATK Mohun Bagan have conceded just seven times – the second best lowest by a team this season – but Antonio Lopez Habas will want his players to do better at the back having kept just one clean sheet in their last four matches.

"Kerala Blasters are a good opponent. I think they had a possibility to win in the last match [against them] and we needed a lot of effort, discipline and intelligence to win that tie. They have improved a lot. But we have to think about our game and not think about them," Habas said ahead of the game.

Kerala, meanwhile, head into the contest on the back of a five-match unbeaten run. A more dynamic outfit in attack, the Blasters have found the back of the net 17 times so far and have nine different goal-scorers in the league, which showcases their ability not to rely on any particular individual to get them on the scoresheet.

That said, they do need to be more compact at the back and improve their defensive displays. Kerala have conceded more goals (22) than any other team this season and have lost 10 points after scoring the first goal. Kibu Vicuna’s men will also need to be wary of their second half showing, in particular, since they’ve conceded 12 goals after the restart. The fact that ATK Mohun Bagan score most of their goals in the second period doesn’t bode well for Kerala.       

“For us, we played only four games in December and we are playing eight in January. But I think the team is improving and we have more confidence. We are competing very well against every team and now we have very tough two games against the two best teams in the competition [Mumbai City up next]. We must give our best if we want to succeed in these two matches,” said Vicuna ahead of the game.

Squads:

ATK Mohun Bagan

Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharja, Avilash Paul, Arsh Shaikh

Defenders: Tiri, Pritam Kotal, Prabir Das, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose, Sumit Rathi, Salam Ranjan Singh

Midfielders: Pronay Halder, Marcelo Pereira, Javier Hernandez, Edu Garcia, Carl McHugh, Glan Martins, Jayesh Rane, Boris Singh, Regin Michael, Sahil Sheikh, N Engson Singh

Forwards: David Williams, Roy Krishna, Manvir Singh, Md. Fardin Ali Molla, Komal Thatal

Kerala Blasters FC

Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Bilal Husain Khan, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Muheet Khan

Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu, Nishu Kumar, Bakary Kone, Jessel Carneiro, Sandeep Singh, Abdul Hakku, Lalruatthara

Midfielders: Sahal Abdul Samad, Vicente Gomez, Seityasen Singh, Rahul KP, Givson Singh, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Yondrembem Denechandra, Arjun Jayaraj, Ayush Adhikari, Jeakson Singh, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Ritwik Das, Rohit Kumar, Juande, Mukstasana Sharma

Forwards: Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Shaiborlang Kharpan

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 78: ATK Mohun Bagan vs Kerala Blasters FC

Date: January 31 (Sunday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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