Preview: ATK Mohun Bagan begin AFC Cup adventure against Sri Lanka's Blue Star SC
ATK Mohun Bagan will be up against Sri Lankan outfit Blue Star SC in their 2022 AFC Cup preliminary round 2 match at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday.
The Mariners qualified for the continental event by virtue of finishing at the second spot in the Hero ISL 2020-21, with Mumbai City FC claiming both the title and the League Winners’ Shield in the same season.
ATK Mohun Bagan had a decent run in the 2021 AFC Cup, having worked their way up to the inter-zone semi-final. However, they were thrashed 0-6 by Uzbek side Nasaf FC and eventually shown the door.
The Mariners finished in the third position in the league stage of the Hero ISL 2021-22, behind Hyderabad FC and toppers Jamshedpur FC. They were ousted from the competition by Hyderabad FC, the eventual champions over a two-legged semi-final clash.
Blue Star SC have been performing well in their local and are currently at the pole position in the league table with 22 points from nine matches, having won seven out of them. The Blue Army defeated Nepal’s Machchindra FC in the First preliminary round at the Dasarath Stadium, in Kathmandu, to set up a date with the Mariners.
These two teams have never played between themselves in the past.
ATK Mohun Bagan
Hugo Boumous: The footballer did not have the best Hero ISL season, but with renewed energy, we can certainly expect some fiery football from the playmaker in the AFC Cup campaign. Boumous, with his guile and trickery can pierce through any defence line in this level, making him a player to watch out for in the upcoming game.
Sandesh Jhingan: Solidly built for his trade, Sandesh Jhingan will guard ATK Mohun Bagan’s castle in the upcoming game. With loads of experience including an European stint, the centre-back will shoulder the responsibility of keeping Blue Stars’ attackers at bay.
Blue Star FC
Mohamed Fasal: The defensive midfielder has been around the circuit for quite some time, with 14 international caps to his name. Fasal shifted loyalties to Blue Stars FC after a long spell with Colombo FC and has been a mainstay for his new employers ever since. His experience will be more than useful for his side against a strong ATK Mohun Bagan unit.
Snehal Sandesh: The youngster, who scored the second goal for Blue Star FC in the First preliminary round, is one of the players enjoying a good run with the club. If the side wants to register a positive result from the tour, players like Snehal need to take charge.
Match Timings and Telecast Details
Match: ATK Mohun Bagan vs Blue Star SC
Date: April 12, 2022
Venue: Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
Kick-off time: 7:30 pm IST
Telecast: Star Sports 3
Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar