ATK Mohun Bagan will be looking to get back its winning rhythm as it returns home to host Odisha FC in a match week-17 fixture of the ISL-9, at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday. As the race for the top-six positions hots up, ATKMB (24 points from 14 matches) and Odisha FC (22 from 14) go toe-to-toe in the match as the fifth and sixth-placed teams in the current standings. A result looks imminent as the winner will be able to establish a safety cushion with only six more rounds to go.
ATK Mohun Bagan enjoys a slight advantage on the form count having collected only five points (from a win and two draws) in as many rounds in its previous outings. Odisha FC is pointless, as it suffered three losses and could only manage a win and a draw. What may be bothering Mohun Bagan is also the fact that the team failed to score in four of their last five matches.
Last week, ATKMB had to settle for a point following a goalless draw against Chennaiyin FC. This came after the Mariners suffered a solitary-goal defeat at home against Mumbai City FC. ATK Mohun Bagan’s home record has been good as it won five out of seven games in its backyard.
The host will be hoping for a better performance in the attacking third with the return of Glan Martins on loan from FC Goa. With Uruguay’s Federico Galego joining prolific striker Dimitri Petratos, who has scored five goals and assisted six in 13 games, the ATK Bagan camp is hoping for a better show.
“It is an important match. We are ready for the game. Our mentality is always the same and that is to get three points. It is a good opportunity to show our character and try to do our best because we play against a very good team that will finish in the top six, according to me,” said Ferrando. “They have very good players and for most of the season, they were fighting in the top four. It won’t be an easy match tomorrow for sure,” he added.
The story of Odisha FC is not much different compared to its upcoming opponent. The Juggernauts have won just one game in their last six matches.
With Bengaluru FC closing the gap in the seventh position, Odisha needs to go for points and secure its position. With the recent addition of Aniket Jadhav (from East Bengal), OFC head coach Josep Gombau will have a revitalised squad at his disposal and will be trying to make the most of it. “We had a gap after the game in Bengaluru. Now it is time to concentrate on the last six games, which are the most important games of the season. We have to try and finish in the playoff spots,” Gombau said. Interestingly,
Odisha FC has never beaten ATKMB in ISL. The two have met on five occasions where the Mariners have won twice, while the last three encounters have ended in draws.