Bengaluru FC will take on ATK Mohun Bagan in another must-win game, at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday. The Marco Pezzaiuoli-coached side is currently sixth in the table with 26 points. Anything other than three full points in the penultimate match of the season will extinguish all hopes of a playoff spot.
ATKMB is relatively in a better situation, on 31 points with three games to go. But Juan Ferrando’s outfit has lost steam in the last two games, taking just two points against a maximum of six against Kerala Blasters and Odisha FC, denting its chances of securing the League Shield.
A top-four finish is however well within reach and a win against BFC will ease the nerves and clear the path.
“We are playing one of the best teams of the competition,” Pezzaiuoli said, on match-eve. “Their coach has also changed the style of the team; they play more of possession football. [But] it is a 50-50 game. They have more experience and we have a good young squad that is very hungry.”
BFC bounced back well from two successive losses to Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United FC, beating Odisha in fine fashion. But one among the personnel who secured the victory, midfielder Danish Farooq, will be suspended for the clash.
ATKMB will be without striker Roy Krishna, who returned from injury recently but picked up a red card against Odisha. There are fitness concerns over fellow forward David Williams, who is recovering from an injury.
The last time the two sides met, they played out a 3-3 draw back in mid-December.
For BFC, the result turned its season around, as the club went another eight matches without losing after having been defeated in four of the opening six fixtures.
For ATKMB, it was the last match of the Antonio Habas era, after which the Kolkata team embarked on a different journey under Ferrando. Sunday may not be as pivotal, but the stakes are high nonetheless.