Mumbai City FC will be aiming to keep its unbeaten record in the Indian Super League 2022-23 (ISL) intact when it faces ATK Mohun Bagan here at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday.
Both sides are coming into this game after convincing 2-0 wins in their last games. The Islanders defeated Kerala Blasters while the Mariners were triumphant in the Kolkata Derby against arch-rivals East Bengal.
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Mumbai City FC will take the field on Sunday with the psychological advantage of being unbeaten against ATK Mohun Bagan in the league.
MCFC likely to retain XI
Head coach Des Buckingham is expected to make no changes to the eleven that started against the Blasters. Alberto Noguera is expected to start from the bench as Greg Stewart takes his place in the midfield, allowing Jorge Diaz to operate upfront.
Diaz is expected to be flanked by Lallianzuala Chhangte and Bipin Singh. The duo has started every game for the host so far this season. Defender Mehtab Singh has pocketed three Hero of the Match awards in four games so far and will start alongside Rostyn Griffiths in defence.
“The focus is on us. I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made so far. We want to continue building, get better after every round and set ourselves up defensively,” said Buckingham.
“We know we have to be wary of other teams. ATK Mohun Bagan have shown their strength in the last two games, but we spend most our time focusing on ourselves,” he added.
ATKMB coach Juan goes with four defenders
After losing its first match of the season, ATK Mohun Bagan won their last two games against Kerala Blasters and East Bengal FC. Head coach Juan Ferrando switched from a three-man defence to a 4-2-3-1 system in the Kolkata Derby.
The new system worked well for the Spaniard, and he may deploy the same formation against the Islanders. Pritam Kotal and Brendan Hamill have started in the Mariner’s defence in all three games so far this season and may retain their spots.
The season’s top-scorer and assist provider Dimitri Petratos is expected to start up top, with support from attackers Manvir Singh and Liston Colaco on the flanks. Hugo Boumous will play a vital role in midfield and will be interesting to see how the midfielder performs against MCFC’s Ahmed Jahouh.
“They have a lot of quality players. It’s a difficult match especially since it is away from home against such a big team. But we have a plan and it I hope it leads us to success,” said Ferrando.
Talking about the fact that ATK Mohun Bagan have never beaten Mumbai, Ferrando said, “I hope this Sunday we claim three points. That is our target. I never think of statistics because in football statistics change. The most important fact for me is that we are ready to play away.”
The two sides have played each other on five occasions. The Islanders have nabbed four wins while one match has ended in a draw. This includes the Hero ISL 2020-21 Final when Mumbai City beat ATK Mohun Bagan 2-1. Bipin Singh scored the winning goal in the 90th minute.
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