Preview: With an eye to prestigious Hero ISL trophy, Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan cross swords in grand finale

After 114 matches of action-packed and entertaining football, Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21’s final will see the top two teams from the league stage lock horns as Mumbai City FC takes on ATK Mohun Bagan at the Fatorda Stadium on Saturday. Both sides possess plenty of difference-makers in their team and they will be hoping to step up and be counted when it matters most.

Mumbai City FC will go into the clash with plenty of confidence having beaten ATK Mohun Bagan twice already during their league stage encounters against the Mariners. They will know what is needed to get the better of the Kolkata giants and will be keen to execute their gameplan to perfection as they eye their maiden Hero ISL trophy.

A well-balanced side, the Islanders didn’t concede a goal in any of their previous matches against the Mariners and they will be hoping to continue that trend in the final. A clean sheet is always helpful and the experienced centre-half pairing of Mourtada Fall and Hernan Santana seems to have the measure of ATK Mohun Bagan’s attackers so far.

Fall and Santana are also capable of making their presence felt in attack as they demonstrated in their last clash against the Mariners. The Senegalese centre-back scored the opening goal in Mumbai City FC’s last encounter against ATK Mohun Bagan and it was Santana’s freekick that ricocheted off the woodwork before being nodded into the net by Bartholomew Ogbeche for the Islanders’ second.

That said, Sergio Lobera’s team doesn’t rely on its defenders to get goals as they have so many difference-makers in the team in the attacking positions. Ogbeche, who has scored eight goals this season, along with Mumbai City FC’s top-scorer Adam le Fondre (11 goals), will be their primary goal threats. The likes of playmaker Hugo Boumous, who has three goals and seven assists so far, and Bipin Singh – Hero ISL 2020-21’s only hat-trick scorer – are a couple more attacking options who will be hoping to make an impact. Cy Goddard is another attacking option capable of making a difference in the final-third.

ATK Mohun Bagan, meanwhile, will view the final as the perfect opportunity to vanquish the memory of losing the League Winners Shield to Mumbai City FC following their loss in the last match of the league stage against the Islanders. They will be aware of the fact that Mumbai City FC have come out on top in both the previous fixtures against them this campaign but will fancy their chances in the final, nonetheless.

And it’s easy to see why they will be confident heading into the final with one glance at their team. Blessed with quality players throughout the team, ATK Mohun Bagan will be hoping that their big-names stand out against the Islanders. The Mariners have a lot of Hero ISL champions pedigree in their team with the likes of defenders Pritam Kotal and Tiri in defence ahead of Arindam Bhattacharja in goal.

All the abovementioned players have won the Hero ISL at least once and will be eager to add another trophy to their collection. Similarly, their attacking duo of Roy Krishna and David Williams also lifted the Hero ISL trophy last season and they know what it takes to lift the coveted prize. Krishna has scored 14 goals this season and Williams has netted five times, including twice during the semi-finals.

Other players capable of making a difference in the final-third for the Mariners include Marcelo Pereira, who has scored twice since joining the club in the winter transfer window. Manvir Singh, who has taken his game to another level and has scored six times so far, will back himself to make an impact as well. Javier Hernandez and Edu Garcia will also have fond memories of scoring in last season’s final, and they would love to do the same against the Islanders.      

Squads:

Mumbai City FC

Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Nishit Shetty, Vikram Singh, Phurba Lachenpa

Defenders: Amey Ranawade, Valpuia, Mourtada Fall, Mehtab Singh, Mandar Rao Dessai, Tondonba Singh, Mohamad Rakip

Midfielders: Ahmed Jahouh, Bidyananda Singh, Bipin Singh, Hernan Santana, Raynier Fernandes, Rowllin Borges, Hugo Boumous, Cy Goddard, Asif Khan, Jackichand Singh, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Vikram Partap Singh, Pranjal Bhumij

Forwards: Adam Le Fondre, Bartholomew Ogbeche

ATK Mohun Bagan

Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharja, Avilash Paul, Arsh Shaikh, Surajit Pramanik

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, Samuel Lalmuanpuia

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

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Final: Mumbai City FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan

Date: March 13 (Saturday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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