ATK Mohun Bagan will be looking to extend its winning run and secure its second successive semifinal berth since joining the Indian Super League (ISL 2021-22) when it takes on Chennaiyin FC at Fatorda on Thursday.
A win will also see ATKMB, which regained its winning touch after successive draws in the previous match against Bengaluru FC, close the gap on the top and improve its chances of claiming the maiden League Winner’s Shield.
The Kolkata giant has made great progress under Spanish coach Juan Ferrando and is unbeaten in 14 games, which is the second longest unbeaten run in the ISL. ATK Mohun Bagan is currently placed third with 34 points from 18 games and has a chance to close in on current table-topper Jamshedpur FC (37 from 18) and second-placed Hyderabad FC (35 from 19). A point from the next match against eighth-placed Chennaiyin FC will be enough to see ATKMB through the play-offs but it needs more than a draw to keep the hopes of winning the League Shield alive.
Ferrando has been troubled by recurrent injuries to majority of his foreign attackers including Hugo Boumous, Roy Krishna and David Williams but what has kept the team afloat has been the fine form of his Indian forwards in Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh. And in the absence of the regular names in the creative zone, Finnish midfielder Joni Kauko has shepherded the team with his fine play-making abilities. ATKMB will be hoping that the attack combination comes good once again.
For two-time champion Chennaiyin FC, the season turned sour in the second phase where it managed to win just once in the last nine games (it lost five and drew thrice). Interim coach Sabir Pasha would be hoping that his side is able to conjure a surprise in its final outing and upset ATKMB’s applecart.
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