ISL 2020-21: Confident ATK Mohun Bagan ready for Bengaluru FC

ATKMB is high on confidence, having rediscovered its mojo by winning back-to-back matches – against Kerala Blasters and Odisha FC – for the first time since mid-December.

ATK Mohun Bagan at a training session ahead of the game against Bengaluru FC.   -  TWITTER/@atkmohunbaganfc

ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) will look to pull within one point of leader Mumbai City FC when it meets Bengaluru FC (BFC) at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Tuesday. Mumbai could only manage a 3-3 draw against FC Goa on Monday, meaning Antonio Habas’ men can move up to 33 points with a win over BFC (19 points).

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ATKMB is high on confidence, having rediscovered its mojo by winning back-to-back matches – against Kerala Blasters and Odisha FC – for the first time since mid-December. Roy Krishna is back among the goals, scoring four times in the last three matches.

So is Manvir Singh, who accounted for a brace against Odisha, including a stunning left-footer that sailed into the top corner. Marcelinho’s signing has added spark to the ATKMB attack, helping the side score seven goals in the last two matches.

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To keep such strike-force at bay, BFC will have to defend a lot better than it did against Chennaiyin FC in the previous match. Naushad Moosa’s wards were fortunate to escape with a goalless draw after having allowed Chennaiyin no less than half-a-dozen clear-cut chances.

Rahul Bheke’s return from suspension should help shore up the backline as BFC continues its chase for a top-four place, which is now two spots and four points away.

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“Mohun Bagan have been scoring after conceding also. So, we have to be more compact,” said Moosa on match-eve. “It won’t be an easy match but the way we are playing, hopefully, we can give them a tough fight. We have not conceded goals in the last two matches. That’s a positive. First [priority] is not to concede goals and [then] we can score any time. So, anything can happen.”

But BFC is sweating on forward Cleiton Silva’s fitness. The Brazilian, one of the consistent performers this season, has a hamstring issue, the extent of which will be known only on match-day morning after an MRI scan.

Podcast - The merger between ATK and Mohun Bagan for ISL 2020-21 seemed like a match made in heaven, but fans didn't look pleased. Our reporters Shyam Vasudevan, Aashin Prasad and Amitabha Das Sharma delve into the reasons behind fans' displeasure and the raging hashtag #RemoveATK in the latest episode of 'The Full Time Show'.

On the other hand, Habas will welcome Carl McHugh from suspension. Lenny Rodrigues, who played his first match after his move from FC Goa, against Odisha FC, should keep his place with fellow mid-fielder Pronay Halder out after picking up four yellow cards.

“The target is to be in the play-offs mathematically,” Habas said. “After that we are thinking about the first position in the regular league, after that the semi-finals and after that the final, if possible. It [top of the league finish] also depends on Mumbai losing some matches but we have to go match by match and we are not thinking too far ahead.”

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