Match 88 Preview: Bengaluru face tough ATK Mohun Bagan challenge in push for top four

Match 88 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 will see Bengaluru FC take on ATK Mohun Bagan at the Fatorda Stadium on Tuesday. The Blues were held to a goalless draw by Chennaiyin FC in their last match while ATK Mohun Bagan registered a 4-1 victory over Odisha FC in their previous outing.

Bengaluru have been a shadow of their former selves this season. After three wins and three draws in their first six games, the Blues have won just once in their last 10 matches. Their disappointing run of results can be attributed to inconsistent performances at both ends of the pitch.

Their defence has shown signs of improvement in the last two matches with the Blues keeping two consecutive clean sheets against SC East Bengal and Chennaiyin. Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was especially good in their last encounter, making six crucial saves.

However, their lack of a creative spark, which has limited them all season, meant that they could only manage four shots at goal against Chennaiyin as their offensive struggles continued. They will be playing against an ATK Mohun Bagan team that has been defensively solid this campaign but have let in a few goals in their last three matches. Bengaluru will be hoping for more defensive lapses by ATK Mohun Bagan and will look to make the most of them.

“Positivity is the only way to approach these games. We're focusing on ATK Mohun Bagan and we know how we need to play. We will give our best for sure, and the environment is positive. We've kept two clean sheets [in the last two matches], and that's a good thing but the way ATK Mohun Bagan have been playing, we know it's going to be a tough game. The boys know how important this game is,” Bengaluru’s interim head coach Naushad Moosa said ahead of the match.

Meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan seem to have found their scoring boots of late. They have netted seven goals in their last two outings and seem to have put their goal-scoring problems behind them. The loan acquisition of Marcelo Pereira from Odisha has added an attacking edge to the team and the form of Roy Krishna and Manvir Singh has also been a boost offensively.

On the defensive front, only table-topper Mumbai City FC have conceded fewer goals than ATK Mohun Bagan’s 10 this season. That said, the Mariners haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last three outings and that’s an area where their head coach Antonio Lopez Habas will urge his players to perform better.

With Hero ISL 2020-21 now in its business end, a victory over Bengaluru will be imperative for the Mariners to keep the pressure on league leaders Mumbai City FC. ATK Mohun Bagan also stand a chance to do the double over Bengaluru FC, having beaten them 1-0 in the reverse fixture.

"We have to compete in every match. The Bengaluru match is another match in which we have to compete. No two matches are the same. We have a good balance in the team. Now, we are improving in the attack. The target is to be in the top four mathematically. After that we are thinking about the first position in the league stage," Habas said 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, Javier Hernandez, Edu Garcia, Carl McHugh, Lenny Rodrigues, Jayesh Rane, Regin Michael, Sahil Sheikh, N Engson Singh

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

Bengaluru FC

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Lara Sharma, Sharon

Defenders: Juanan, Rahul Bheke, Francisco Gonzalez, Ajith Kumar, Joe Zoherliana, Biswa Darjee, Namgyal Bhutia, Parag Srivas, Pratik Chaudhari, Wungngayam Muirang

Midfielders: Dimas Delgado, Erik Paartalu, Suresh Wangjam, Thoi Singh, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Amay Morajkar, Harmanjot Khabra, Cleiton Silva, Xisco Hernandez

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Kristian Opseth, Ashique Kuruniyan, Udanta Singh, Edmund Lalrindika, Leon Augustin, Semboi Haokip, Naorem Singh

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 88: Bengaluru FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan

Date: February 9 (Tuesday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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