We have beaten ATK Mohun Bagan twice but anything can happen in the final: Borges

Rowllin Borges has enjoyed a fine campaign with Mumbai City FC and will be hoping to finish the season on a high as the Islanders gear up for the final of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 against ATK Mohun Bagan at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Saturday. A lively presence in midfield, Borges has contributed both in defence as well as attack with two goals and an assist to show for his effort going forward.

The 28-year-old sat down for a media roundtable ahead of Saturday’s final and shared his thoughts on several topics, including Mumbai City FC head coach Sergio Lobera’s style of football. “I think it’s a style which I prefer to play. I think I have evolved a lot, especially with my passing and helping the team go forward. Especially in the attacking part, I’ve improved a lot under Sergio,” he said.

He went on to admit that it was in stark contrast to the style of football that was seen at Mumbai City FC last season. “Firstly, the style we play now is completely different from how we used to play last season. The players which we have brought in this year has helped us a lot to get to where we are now. The credit goes to the coach, the staff and all the players,” Borges said.

A well-balanced outfit, Lobera’s men haven’t just been scoring goals galore but have been resolute at the back as well. “I think everyone works hard, especially when we don’t have the ball. I think that’s the main reason [for their defensive solidity]. Even if you see, Bartholomew Ogbeche and Adam [le Fondre], they help the team in the attacking part as well as in defence. I think in our defensive part, we are working very hard as a team and that is how we have 10 clean sheets,” the Indian midfielder said.

When asked for his best moment from the season so far, Borges said: “There were many but I’ll choose two. One was when we won the League Winners Shield after beating ATK Mohun Bagan and the second one is when we won against FC Goa on penalties [in the semis].”

While expanding on the how it felt to score the winning penalty during the second leg of Mumbai City FC’s semi-final against FC Goa, Borges added: “It felt amazing. The feeling is still there and it felt amazing. But now it’s done and we have one last final effort to go and I think I can help the team win the cup.”

Looking ahead, Borges made it clear that the Islanders are geared up for the final. “The boys are ready. I think from the first final that we played against ATK Mohun Bagan for the Shield. I think after winning that the momentum in the team has changed, the boys are really confident. The boys are really looking forward to the match on the 13th,” Borges said.

The Islanders, in fact, have been involved in quite a few high-stake contests of late but Rowllin revealed that he and his teammates are relishing the challenge. “As a professional, you live to play these kinds of matches and finals. We are very lucky and fortunate to play three or four final-like games. Our last four matches weren’t less than a final, so I think we are lucky to play these games. The boys are mentally very strong. As you all know the last two meetings against ATK Mohun Bagan went in our favour but this last match is a final and anything can happen. The boys will give their best in this last match and hopefully the result comes our way,” the Indian international explained.

He also heaped praise on his midfield partner Ahmed Jahouh. “Even when I played against him, I was a big fan of his and I still am. It’s a dream for me to play alongside him. When you play with him, it makes your role a little easy because he guides you and helps you a lot. Even if you are not having a good game but have Jahouh beside you, it increases your motivation and confidence. It really helps me a lot to have someone like Jahouh beside me [in midfield],” Borges said.

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